Skip to main content

Full text of "The independent"

See other formats


FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



Qjl, 



I 



\ 




V // 




w> 




iBHB 




Now, thanks to a new Filmline 
16/35mm Developer/Processor, 
you can get dailies from Technicolor 
as early as you need them. 

Dawn, if necessary. 

And we're talking Technicolor 
dailies. The clearest, cleanest, 
richest dailies in the business. The 
kind that have made Technicolor the 
most respected name in color pro- 
cessing since 1922. (If you haven't 
personally experienced the beauty of 
Color by Technicolor® we'd like to 



prove to you that there really is a 
difference. Call our head of dailies, 
JoeViolanteorNickAlberti in 
sales to arrange a no cost, no obli- 
gation test.) 

And with Technicolor you get a 
lot more than quality and speed. You 
get 24-hour pickup at all three air- 
ports. Negative reports with your 
Saturday pickup. High speed or nor- 
mal projection on Saturday morning 
for you or your client in our comfort- 
able theater. (We're the onlv lab in 



New York that offers this service.) 

So there it is: The best color in 
the industry. Great service. Great fa- 
cilities. All at very competitive prices. 
And now, dailies as early as you 
need them. 

So why settle for anything less 
than genuine Color by Technicolor? 

Color by 

^Technicolor 

^- * A Hollywood • London • Rome • New York 

East Coast Division • 321 West 44th Street. New York. NY 10036 
• (212) 582-7310 • Telex 14-1081 



■■ 108?fechnicolCM 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INXPENXNr 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 
VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 



Publisher 

Editor 

Managing Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 

Art Director: 

Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
BoO Brodsky 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Raina Fortini 
Ruth Copeland 
Christopher Holme 
(212-473-3400) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ 07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is puPlished ten times 
yearly py the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway. 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473- 
3400), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation dedicated to the 
promotion of video and film, and by the 
Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade 
association of independent producers and 
individuals involved in independent video 
and film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independent 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is 
assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addresssed to the editor. Letters may be 
edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for the Independent Video and 
Film, Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and 
acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198. The Independent is indexed in 
the Alternative Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc 1988 



AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Ethan Young, membership/ 
programming director; kathryn Bowser, festival 
bureau director; Morton Marks, business manager; 
Raina Fortini, administrative assistant; Sol Horowitz, 
Short Film Showcase project administrator. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Aaron- 
son, Adrianne Benton, Christine Choy, Loni Ding, 
Rachel Field, Lisa Frigand,' Wendy Lidell, Regge 
Life. Richard Lorber, Tom Luddy," Deanna Morse, 
Robert Richter. Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), 
Steve Savage,' Barton Weiss. John Taylor Williams." 



' FIVF Board ot Directors only 



CONTENTS 



FEATURES 

1 4 Interconnections: The African and Afro-American Cinema 

by Ntongela Masilela 

1 8 Bodies and Anti-Bodies: A Crisis in Representation 

by Timothy Landers 

2 MEDIA CLIPS 

Final Cut at the IFP Market 

by Martha Gever 

Dollars for Distribution 

by Quynh Thai 

Dratfield Endowment Announced 

by Patricia Thomson 

Sequels 

7 FIELD REPORTS 

Super 8 Resurgence from Coast to Coast 

by Toni Treadway 

Added Attractions: The Sidebar at the Independent Feature Film Market 

by Janet Wickenhaver 

25 BOOK REVIEW 

Hardware Wars 

by Eric Breitbart 

26 FESTIVALS 

Pacific Panoramas: "Eastern Horizons" at the Toronto Festival of Festivals 

by Barbara Scharres 

In Brief 

31 CLASSIFIEDS 

33 NOTICES 

36 MEMORANDA 




Courtesy Museum of Modern Art 



COVER: In his 1978 film Ceddo, Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene 
drew from African narrative traditions to explore the imperial history of West 
Africa. Ntongela Masilela discusses the new cinema that transverses Africa and 
the Black diaspora in "Interconnections: The African and Afro-American 
Cinemas." Photo courtesy New Yorker Films. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



MEDIA CLIPS 



FINAL CUT AT THE IFP MARKET 



When is a market not a market? That question 
might be asked in the wake of the 1987 Indepen- 
dent Feature Film Market, organized by the Inde- 
pendent Feature Project in New York City. With 
little public notice, the IFP's previous policy of 
nonexclusion (with the exception of work consid- 
ered pornographic, overly violent, or profoundly 
sexist or racist) was abandoned in favor of a 
process where market director Robert Odell and 
IFP program director Karen Arikian selected the 
films presented in the market's feature section, 
turning away 18 submitted works, and exercised 
curatorial control over the video and works-in- 
progress section as well. The obvious significance 
of the IFM's new direction is that film- and 
videomakers whose work was rejected were 
unable to take full advantage of the concentration 
of buyers and programmers at the event. Since the 
I FM has become one of the few central ized oppor- 
tunities in this country for U.S. independent pro- 
ducers to exhibit their work for prospective dis- 
tributors and exhibitors, those denied a screen- 
ing — or even granted one at the last minute when 
a scheduled work failed to materialize — were 
effectively thrown back into a pre-IFM scenario 
of costly and exhausting individual promotion 
efforts. Billing itself as "the premier showcase of 
new independent fiction films and documenta- 
ries," a curated IFM also implicitly validates 
some works at the expense of others. Two factors 
operating in the IFP's execution of its new policy 
complicated this already complex situation: 
vague, indirect, potentially misleading guidelines 
concerning the selection process and criteria for 
films and tapes entered in the market, and ques- 
tionable procedures employed by the IFP once 
selections had been made. 

The common definition of a film or TV market 
is that it is open to all comers. And that has been 
the common perception of how the IFM is struc- 
tured. On the front page of the IFP newsletter 
containing an entry form for the 1987 market, the 
organization quotes Janet Grillo of New Line 
Cinema praising the event as "singularly demo- 
cratic and accessible." As Arikian pointed out. 
there are two items in the list of "entry require- 
ments" in the same newsletter that might lead a 
film- or videomaker to suspect that the market 
might not be entirely democratic: "Entries must 
be previewed by the Market Selection Commit- 
tee.... Market selections are at the discretion of the 
IFP." Nevertheless, no description of the selec- 
tion process was given. Additionally, all entrants 
were required tojoin the IFP in New York City or 
one of the other national IFP organizations, to the 
tune of a $60 per year membership, and to include 
a hefty entry fee with their submitted work: 



$250-300 for features, depending on whether the 
work was received before or after an August 31 
deadline; $200-250 for videotapes and works-in- 
progress. 

One filmmaker whose film was rejected for the 
market found the wording of the entry form insuf- 
ficiently explicit and subsequent dealings with the 
IFP frustrating. Sheila McLaughlin, director and 
producer of She Must Be Seeing Things, a dra- 
matic feature completed last March, said that she 
received no communication from the IFP whatso- 
ever until she telephoned their office a few weeks 
before the market to inquire about the screening 
schedule. "Some guy got on the phone and told 
me, 'You're not in,'" she said. "I spoke to Robert 
Odell, and he couldn't tell me what criteria they 
used or why they rejected my film, other than they 
were interested in films that have a potential to 
attract a large audience and films without distribu- 
tion." Odell agreed to mail a copy of the criteria he 
and Arikian applied to their selections, but she 
never received it. 

, Although her preview videocassette had been 
returned prior to her initial call to the IFP, 
McLaughlin had received no written notice of the 
IFP's decision. Arikian maintains that letters were 
mailed, and a copy of such a document was 
included in a packet of information she sent to The 
Independent after an interview about the new 
policy. That rejection letter is drafted as an enclo- 
sure with a preview cassette and a refunded entry 
fee. The letter goes on to enumerate the benefits of 
attending the market and of IFP membership in 
general. Although the IFP's willingness to refund 
membership fees is never mentioned in this letter, 
Arikian stated that the IFP volunteered to repay 
this amount as well. However, McLaughlin said 
that they never offered to refund her membership 
payment and charges that the IFP never returned 
her entry fee. although she requested that they do 
so. Instead, shortly before the market opened on 
October 6 — and after many calls to the IFP — she 
received a check for $150, which represented a 
refund of her entry fee minus S 1 00. the discounted 
price of general admission to the market. 
McLaughlin's protests eventually netted her a 
screening and inclusion in a xeroxed insert in the 
market program. With two days notice, she 
showed her film to an audience of about 35 on the 
afternoon of the last day of the market. 

Business practices aside, the rationale for 
Odell and Arikian's selections remains unclear. 
The printed list of criteria they say governed their 
decisions mentions an interest in balancing fiction 
and documentary work, as well as supplying a 
variety of work in fiction genres and categories 
and diverse documentary categories; an emphasis 



on newer works that have not entered distribution 
and representative of every region of the country; 
a restriction to films with budgets under $5-mil- 
lion that are not overly violent and that contain no 
sexual or racial exploitation or stereotyping. 
Odell also stressed the market's interest in spon- 
soring world premieres, but only about half of the 
U.S. features in the main section actually fit that 
category. Even though regional representation is 
given priority, no provision for a balance of fe- 
male and male directors or a commitment to 
showing work made by people of color appears in 
their criteria. Asked about the inclusion of only 
two dramatic films from the U.S. directed by 
women in the main section, out of a total of 39 (not 
counting She Must Be Seeing Things), Arikian 
and Odell stressed the relatively high number of 
women producers — 44 percent — and disputed 
any difference between the professional titles. As 
for statistics on the number of works by people of 
color screened, Arikian couldn't say. The IFP 
document concludes, "The Market will always 
exhibit films which take creative and commercial 
risks," but what "risks" are envisioned is not 
elaborated. 

Since She Must Be Seeing Things, a dramatic 
film about psycho/sexual tensions in a lesbian 
relationship, had no U.S. distributor when it was 
submitted to the market but nevertheless played to 
sold-out houses at several major festivals, neither 
the justifications Odell gave McLaughlin nor the 
IFP's official criteria account for its exclusion. 
Both Odell and Arikian refused to speak about 
their decision in this instance, emphasizing that 
the film had been screened. In separate inter- 
views, they both referred to the inevitable subjec- 
tivity of any programming decisions. McLaugh- 
lin, however, speculated, "There's an idea that 
there's no market for this film. That kind of 
thinking means that 'specialized' films are killed 
before they can be seen by the audience that's 
interested." In order for the IFP to keep current 
with what's marketable, she believes, "They 
shouldn't have a couple of administrators making 
decisions. They should have a qualified panel." 

Another market refuse, John Canalli, has also 
worked as a film festival organizer. For a number 
of years Canalli was a prominent member of the 
Frameline group that sponsors the San Francisco 
Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Like McLaugh- 
lin, he disputes the wisdom of having a selection 
committee composed of two staff people. He also 
received no written criteria from the IFP staff nor 
a precise reason for the exclusion of his videotape. 
Odell told Independent writer Janet Wickenhaver 
[see Wickenhaver's account of the market on p. 
1 1 ] that the tape was a "poorly made," educa- 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



^zge 



\ 




: E 3 



\ 



Full component Betacam to Betacam CMX Editing $150/HR 



\ 




%" & Betacam to 1" 
CMX Editing 
$175/HR 



4 





remember 
we also 
have 



Camera 

Rentals 

$550/Day 

Full Package 



\ 



-A: 



The Suffolk County 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 

presents 



SUFFOLK 

COUNTY 

FILM & VIDEO 

COMPETITION 

Call for Entries 

for 

1988 



Entry Forms: 

SUFFOLK COUNTY 

MOTION PICTURE/ TV 

COMMISSION 

Office of Economic Development 

Dennison Building 

Veterans Memorial Highway 

Hauppauge, New York 11788 

516-360-4800 



tional-type video, not in keeping with the 
market's agenda. Canalli, whose tape Heroism: A 
Community Responds profiles AIDS service or- 
ganizations in the Bay Area, expected to find 
other producers of AIDS documentaries at the 
market in order to compare experiences and trade 
information. And, although Cinema Guild picked 
up the tape for U.S. distribution right before the 
market, he also hoped to meet international dis- 
tributors. He, too, was offered a last minute 
screening in the video section, but, without a 
catalogue listing or time to gather an audience, his 
tape was viewed by an audience of two writers. 
His plan to meet like-minded producers was 
similarly disappointed, because no other docu- 
mentaries on AIDS appeared in the market pro- 
gram. 

Some of the confusion about procedures and 
protocols might be attributed to the IFP staffs 
lack of preparation for the number of submissions 
they received. That, in any case, is part of the 
explanation offered by Arikian. In the past, she 
said, they never faced this problem, with the 
exception of a last minute deluge of work in 1 986, 
following a concerted solicitation effort when 
faced with scanty response to routine publicity. 
Nevertheless, she recalls that a projection based 
on new feature production in January 1987 indi- 
cated the likelihood of a crunch, combined with 
the realization that the facilities available for the 
market would not accommodate all the work. 
While the IFP deserves congratulations for iden- 
tifying and partially fulfilling an important need 
of independent producers, it also seems fair to 
conclude that between January and the August 
deadline for submissions, the organization could 
have devised a system for defining workable 
criteria, convened a selection committee, and 
notified those who were rejected and informed 
them of the reasons in a timely manner. And in the 
future, if facilities for screening more work can- 
not be secured, perhaps the IFP should consider a 
name change, since it will no longer fit the defini- 
tion of a market. 

MARTHA GEVER. WITH JANET WICKENHAVER 



DOLLARS 

FOR DISTRIBUTION 

For those New York filmmakers who expect to 
experience post-partum anxieties about distribu- 
tion of a soon-to-be -completed film, the New 
York State Council on the Arts offers remedies. 
During fiscal year 1986-1987, NYSCA estab- 
lished a permanent category devoted exclusively 
to film distribution for New York State 
filmmakers. It funded some 16 projects last year, 
including Janet Forman's The Beat Generation, 
Su Friedrich's The Ties That Bind, Manny 
Kirschheimer's We Were So Beloved, Brent 
Owens' A Cry for Help, and Lucy Winer's Rate It 
X. The grants, ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, 
were applied to striking prints, internegatives, and 
creating promotion materials — designing, print- 



ing and mailing — as well as festival fees. All films 
had to be completed by the time NYSCA dis- 
bursed the grants. 

"So many filmmakers finish their films in debt 
that we decided to set up a funding category 
especially for finished films," explained B. Ruby 
Rich, director of the NYSCA Film Program. "We 
wanted to encourage filmmakers to think about 
distribution before they finish, and we want to 
place them in better bargaining positions with 
distributors once they do finish." While NYSCA 
is not prejudiced against any method of distribu- 
tion, commercial or nonprofit, it does stipulate 
that grants cannot be used to pay production 
debts. 

"We judge applications by the artistic quality 
of the film, the clarity of the distribution plan, the 
relevance of that plan to the film, the markets 
targeted, and the filmmaker's needs," added Rich. 
In the case of recipient Sharon Greytak, NYSCA 
monies went towards striking prints for Weirded 
Out and Blown Away, making dubs for a PBS 
broadcast, engaging a distributor and paying fes- 
tival fees — preparations which would not have 
been as expediently completed without the 
NYSCA grant. 

NYSCA's unique distribution category, while 
open to all New York filmmakers last year, has 
actually existed as a pilot program since fiscal 
year 1983-1984. Previously, only projects that 
had received NYSCA support for production 
were eligible. "In the early eighties, with the 
closing of 16mm distributors such as Serious 
Business, Unifilm. and Texture Films, we became 
concerned with the future of 16mm distribution," 
recalled Rich. "At that time, nonprofit distributors 
such as Women Make Movies and Third World 
Newsreel were still forming and there seemed to 
be a growing void in distribution." The earlier 
grants, therefore, helped not only filmmakers, but 
the fledgling nonprofit distributors who, as a 
result of the grants, did not have to expend what 
little money they had preparing prints and promo- 
tion material. 

In establishing this program, NYSCA also 
wanted to set a precedent for other funding agen- 
cies. "Often, funders are more prone to give grants 
for production and exhibition rather than distribu- 
tion. They see distribution as an activity that 
generates rather than requires money." Lillian 
Jimenez, administrator of the Paul Robeson Fund 
and tne FIVF Donor-Advised Funds, observed 
that "funders who specifically put money into 
distribution are a minority within the minority that 
funds films." Jimenez' comments suggest that 
NYSCA's initiative is timely, given that other 
funders are beginning to pay more attention to the 
distribution plans of projects they consider. 
"Distribution has become almost as important as 
production, especially in the eyes of the more 
sophisticated and issue-oriented funders like J.C. 
Penney, the Peace Development Fund, and 
Careth, who want to know how these issues are 
reaching audiences," Jimenez noted. 

NYSCA plans to continue this funding cate- 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



SAVES THE DAY! 




For super-quality computer-timed dailies at the best price in town...SFL is your hero! 

We're a fully-equipped film lab with years of experience offering state-of-the-art 

services, such as liquid gate A&B answer prints. ..plus the kind of talk-to-the-timer 

personalized attention that you can't get from other labs at ANY price. 

CALL FOR THE COMPLETE SFL STORY. 



STUDIO FILM LABS 321 WEST 44TH STREET 



STUDIO 

▲ K I I \1 • I \ B S ■ 



\ 



AND FIND OUT WHAT WE CAN SAVE YOU! 



NEW YORK NEW YORK 10036 ■ 212-582-5578 



=DO YOU WANT TO= 

MAKE FILMS OR 
SIT IN A CLASSROOM? 



If you want to make films, our 
intensive, interdisciplinary 8-week 
summer program is for you. A special 
program in the radical art of 
filmmaking considered and prac- 
ticed as an avant-garde experi- 
mental enterprise. The poetics of 
film, the energy of narrative, the "art 
of vision" - these are the aesthetic 
considerations of this great modern 
art form. 



BE AN INDEPENDENT 
FILMMAKER 

Summer 1988 
June 27 -August 19 



Milton Avery 

Graduate School of the Arts 

at 




BARD 



Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504 
__ (914) 758-6822, x-183 



LEARN 

VIDEO 

EDITING 

■V» " Editing Classes include: 

VIDEO EDITING 

• 

AUDIO MIXING 

TROUBLESHOOTING 

* 

MAX 4 TO A CLASS 
16HR SINGLE WEEKEND 

* 

FREE REFRESHER CLASS 

* 

DYNAMITE TEACHERS 

For more info call Debbie or David 

29th STREET 
VIDEO, Inc. 

(212) 594-7530 



gory, and the Film Program encourages film- 
makers who expect to have films completed 
within the current funding cycle to apply before 
the March 1 deadline. They especially encourage 
minority producers to submit applications. 

QUYNHTHAI 



DRATFIELD ENDOWMENT 
ANNOUNCED 

A new endowment has been established in honor 
of Leo Dratfield, distributor of independent and 
foreign films and cofounderof the American Film 
Festival, who died in 1986. The Leo Dratfield 
Endowment, set up in cooperation with the New 
York Foundation for the Arts, will support pro- 
grams and awards that encourage innovative film- 
and videomaking and programming. During the 
first year grants will go toward scholarships to the 
Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, awards at the 
American Film Festival, sponsorship of a book 
about independent nontheatrical short films, and 
networking workshops. Tax deductible contribu- 
tions can be sent to the New York Foundation for 
the Arts, 5 Beekman Street, New York, NY 
1 0038. Attn: Lynda Hansen. For further informa- 
tion about specific Dratfield Endowment-sup- 
ported activities, contact Julia Keydel. executive 
director. Leo Dratfield Endowment, 131 West 
,87th Street, #1B, New York, NY 10024; (212) 
724-9633. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 



SEQUELS 

During the past 20 years of public broadcasting*s 
existence. Congress has been loathe to tithe the 
commercial broadcasting industry to help allevi- 
ate public televisions chronic shortage of funds. 
But now there are signs of a change in mood. In a 
surprise move that delighted public broadcasters 
and distressed their commercial counterparts. 
Senate Commerce Committee Chair Ernest 
Hollings (D-South Carolina) proposed the crea- 
tion of a Public Broadcasting Trust Fund, to be 
supported by a new two-to-five percent fee on the 
transfer of FCC licenses. The fee was part of the 
Commerce Committee's revenue-raising pack- 
age. During last-minute mark-ups, Hollings also 
added the codification of the fairness doctrine — a 
political hot potato he has vowed to see passed 
into law ["Sequels," October 1987]. However, 
during the so-called "budget summit" between 
the White House and Congressional leaders in 
November, both the transfer fee and the fairness 
doctrine were stripped from the deficit-reduction 
plan. Given Hollings' commitment, this set-back 
will probably just delay rather than kill full Con- 
gressional review of the proposal. 

Under Hollings' plan, the license transfer fee 
would apply to all spectrum users: broadcast sta- 
tions, cable systems, cellular phones, microwave, 
and satellite systems. The sale or transfer of a 



license would be subject to a two percent fee. 
Under certain conditions, broadcasters would pay 
more: four percent if the license changes hands 
within three years of the last sale (making it, in 
effect, anti-trafficking legislation), plus an addi- 
tional one percent if the licensee has violated the 
fairness doctrine. The Commerce Committee 
estimates that the transfer fee would raise $340- 
million in FY 1988, and would increase 10 per- 
cent each year thereafter. For the first two years 
the revenues would go toward deficit reduction. 
From 1990 on they would be funneled into a 
Public Broadcasting Trust Fund. 

Commercial broadcasters were the only spec- 
trum-users to oppose the transfer fee, which they 
did quite effectively with a massive lobbying 
effort. The National Association of Broadcasters 
labelled the fee a discriminatory tax. But NAB's 
opposition to the transfer fee paled next to its 
vehement clamour over the codification of the 
fairness doctrine. During oversight hearings on 
public television in November, Hollings com- 
plained about NAB lobbying: "I couldn't get in to 
talk to the President about the fairness doctrine, 
but I saw CBS and others in there. If you have 
enough money, you can get in to see those folks." 
The effort paid off for commercial broadcasters in 
the short-run. But chances are likely that Hollings 
will see to it that both the doctrine and the transfer 
fee will resurface attached to some otherbill in the 
future. 



□ 



The White House has nominated Bradley P. 
Holmes to become the fifth FCC commissioner. 

Holmes, a former aide to FCC Chair Dennis 
Patrick, has been with the FCC since 1984 and is 
currently chief of its policy and rules division in 
the mass media bureau. 



HEALTH INSURANCE FOR 
AIVF MEMBERS 

AIVF offers its members excellent group 
medical and life insurance plans, admini- 
stered by The Entertainment Industry Group 
Insurance Trust (TEIGIT). Our comprehen- 
sive medical plan offers: 

• S200 deductible 

• 80% coinsurance 

• yearly out-of-pocket cost set at $ 1 .000 
maximum & $1,000,000 maximum 
lifetime benefit 

Other plans are available, including 
disability income insurance with a S500 
monthly benefit. 

To join AIVF or for more information, write 
AIVF Membership Services, 625 Broadway. 
9th floor. New York NY 10012. or call 

Ethan Young. (212) 473-3400. 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 













', 



FIELD REPORT 



SUPER 8 RESURGENCE FROM COAST TO COAST 



Toni Treadway 



Super 8 partisans used to be either the amateurs or 
the avant-garde among filmmakers. In the late 
sixties and seventies there were countless hobby- 
ists making mini-Hollywood films, screened to 
the delight of friends, or movies of the family at 
the beach replayed at gatherings in living rooms. 
Then, too, there were strange mixed-media expe- 
riences in artists' lofts, with moving cameras, 
moving projectors, gyrating participants, and 
perverse, mad, or romantic personal diary images, 
breaking up or extending the groundwork already 
laid by experimental filmmakers of the fifties and 
sixties. In the eighties amateurs and hobbyists 
have moved on to half-inch and 8mm video. As 
this shift occurred, more serious artists have been 
attracted to super 8 film for its affordability, 
portability, image quality, and the variety of op- 
tions when it is employed in conjunction with 
video. 

That's the news for super 8: the range of its uses 
and its respectability is increasing. In film or 
video production, for training young filmmakers, 
as an element of performance or installation art, 
super 8 film remains the window through which 
many beginners enter the media arts and a beloved 
(although archaic) tool in the kitbag of an experi- 
enced media artist. Dan Reeves, Branda Miller, 
and Bill Seaman — all established video artists — 
have been supported by the prestigious Institute of 
Contemporary Art/WGBH Contemporary Art 
Television Fund for their video work. Each artist 
can comfortably manipulate high-tech video 
postproduction equipment to create his or her 
videotapes. Yet, each has chosen to originate 
some imagery on super 8. 

Branda Miller, for instance, recently shot black 
and white super 8 in Times Square at night, then 
transferred and edited the footage on video to 
create her section of Time Code, an international 
coproduction between television stations, artists, 
and independent producers in seven countries. 
Reeves incorporated super 8 footage in his latest 
videotape Ganapati: A Spirit in the Bush, as did 
Seaman in Telling Motions. Filmmaker Albert 
Gabriel Nigrin used the graininess of black and 
white super 8 to advantage in his Gradiva and 
Am elia, achieving dream-like qualities. Gradiva, 
in which a woman wanders through the Gaudi 
cathedral in Barcelona, was recently projected as 
the short before a screening of Francoise 
Truffaut's Two English Girls to a full house — 1 25 
people — at the Film Co-op in Central New Jersey, 
a collaborative screening project of a university 
and a media group. And last fall, the American 




Film Institute's Michael Nesmith Award in Music- 
Video went to Charles Jevrcmovic and Lisa 
Monrose of Danger Video, who shoot super 8 
almost as often as video. Their award allowed 
them to produce a new work at the AFI/Sony 
studios, and the result was the tape Soul Soldier. 
Throwing Muses composed a song, which be- 



An animation still from a film 
produced by a student at Lynn 
Wadsworth's workshop on the Red 
Lake Indian Reservation. 

Photo: Karen Sherarts. courtesy Film in the Cities 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 7 



YOUR 

NECESSITIES 

CATALOG 

NEW FALL SUPPLEMENT 

Featuring: 

The Finest Professional 

AUDIO AND VIDEO TAPE, 

EQUIPMENT, ACCESSORIES, 

AND SUPPLIES 

A T THE LOWEST PRICES EVER! 

Agfa, Ampex, Eastman, Fuji, Maxell. 

3M, Canare, Kings, Neutrik, Chyron. 

Crosspoint Latch, Fostex, JVC. Leader, 

Lowel, Mitsubishi, Super VHS, and 

Much. Much, More! 

FREE! 

Call for yours today! 

518-828-2000 



Hudson Audio Video Enterprises, Inc 
309 Power Avenue, Hudson, NY 12534 



l-inch& 

Interformat Editing 
3/4" BVU Editing 
3/4" Off-Line. Editing 
Complete Audio Services 

• Film to Tape Transfers 

• Video Production & 
Screening Equipment 
Rental 



fHEMEDI' 



jW COST 



VIDEO S« 



At 

Broadway Video 

G.B.S. Video 

^ L.R.P. Video 

w ' Matrix/Stand-By 

Sync Sound 

TV-R/MasterColor 

Technisphere Corporation 



Post-production consultation 

Available to ON-LINE clients 

Fat applications contact 

Media Alliance 

c/o WNET, 356West 58th Street 
NYC. NY 10019 212/560-2919 




Director Jose de Vega 
(far right) surveys a 
scene in progress from 
Harusume Spring Rain, 
shot by a Visual Com- 
munications crew. 

Courtesy Visual Communications 



came the base for the Monrose-Jevremovic 
team's embroidery of pictures, playful glitches, 
and floating TV sets combining Betacam and 
super 8 footage. 

Some artists talk of super 8 having its own 
"look." an image quality identifiable as film with 
higher resolution than images produced with in- 
expensive video cameras, but with less resolution 
than 16mm or 35mm film. The miniscule size of 
super 8 film emphasizes the grain structure of the 
emulsion, and, when transferred to video, the 
grain can be enhanced or the film speed slowed, a 
.technique sometimes used to evoke an aura of 
timelessness. The possibility of emphasizing the 
emulsion intrigues some artists who want to force 
viewers to look into images in order to consider 
their construction. And the visual characteristics 
of super 8 contrast with the rather hard-edged and 
cartoon-like quality attainable with video. A mix 
of both materials can be manipulated for a variety 
of ends by a visual artist. 

Often, open screenings confirm the hypothesis 
that super 8 functions well as an introduction to 
new cinema. At an open screening in June at Film 
Arts Foundation in San Francisco, 65 people 
stuffed into FAF's office to see 13 new works; 
eight were super 8 films. FAF's program director. 
Robert Hawk, knew none of the filmmakers per- 
sonally but reported that most were young, in their 
twenties, although one was a senior citizen. The 
works ranged from "abstract to naive in style." 
according to Hawk. Six of the eight super 8 films 
were screened with sound on audio cassette and 
the filmmaker standing alongside the projector. 
One artist etched and painted on super 8 film. 
("Can you believe anyone could work on some- 
thing that small?" Hawk asked.) A large number 
of films were in black and white, which seems to 
have found a growing but so far underground 
popularity among young filmmakers, although 
evidence of this infatuation can be seen on MTV 
as well. 

At the IMAGE media center in Atlanta super 8 
filmmakers show up at open screenings with 
spoofs, narratives, and weird experiments remi- 
niscent of films by super 8 masters of the seven- 
ties,- such as Kenny Lipton, Jim Piper, and Dennis 



Duggan.aswellasthat of the 1979-80 new wave, 
like Kathe Izzo's romantic narratives that com- 
bined film and performance. IMAGE'S super 8 
gear is most often rented by young people, which 
may explain why the work produced frequently 
reinvents the styles of their predecessors. IMAGE 
staff member Anthony Rue is also excited about 
super 8's role in multi-media art, citing an instal- 
lation by filmmaker Linda Armstrong and dancer 
Susan Eldridge. The women rented an alternative 
space ("an old Kung Fu studio," Armstrong says) 
and combined water images on super 8 film pro- 
jected on a rear screen, a six-part text on cassette, 
and music by Paul Kayhart with their own move- 
ments, releasing ping pong balls on the floor to 
simulate more water imagery at the 
performance's climax. 

Elsewhere, super 8 serves media centers in- 
volved with teaching young people media pro- 
duction. In Houston, the Southwest Alternative 
Media Project has equated super 8 with commu- 
nity activism since the early seventies, when 
James Blue. Ed Hugetz. and Brian Huberman 
created Fourth Ward films. Working out of 
Hugetz' van, they filmed local subjects or taught 
people in various communities to make their own 
films. Hugetz admits that he'd still use super 8 for 
these kinds of projects if he had a choice, but 
SWAMP now has access to the local public tele- 
vision station's video production equipment — a 
resource that no media center can afford to refuse. 

Hugetz is totally convinced that super 8 is the 
way to teach media-making. "If kids start with 
video, they don't learn anything. But if they start 
with film, they learn the silent era of film, lessons 
of composition, and the power of visual material." 
he declares. Because "super 8 gear is getting real 
hard to find down here in Texas." Hugetz admits 
to bouts of pessimism about the viability of super 
8. but he continues to support super 8 filmmakers 
like Kim Crabb through SWAMP's artist-in-resi- 
dency programs in the public schools. Such visit- 
ing artist programs often give students their first 
media production experiences, and the groups 
served by SWAMP's program are always a racial, 
ethnic, and social mix. The work by these young 
filmmakers is then programmed on local cable 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



TV. SWAMP also produces a program composed 
of accomplished local independent productions, 
The Territory, as a series on the Houston PBS 
station. Hugetz proudly states, "The Territory is 
doing really well engaging an audience, which we 
see when we have phone-ins. Film and video can 
prosper when there's a dynamic audience to re- 
ceive and react to it." 

Teaching super 8 filmmaking is also a key 
element in Minneapolis-based Film-in-the- 
Cities' artists residency programs, coordinated by 
Karen Sherarts. At their Summer Intermedia 
Workshop, instructor Benita Wahl and two art 
student interns, Jackie Esse and Tibbetha Shaw, 
gave a four-week intensive course in photog- 
raphy, film, and video to 15 talented 13- to 18- 
year-olds from various locales in Minnesota. 
When allowed to choose their preferred medium 
for a final project, half the students opted for black 
and white super 8. Like their peers in Atlanta, they 
like its graininess, the chance to experiment with 
dramatic lighting effects, the camera's 
portability, and the tactile nature of film editing. 
One production from this group, a postmodern, 
Bruce Connoresque collage film called Take the 
Skin Heads Bowling, by Chris Latchana, James 
Orndorf, and Mark Wojahn, employed hand- 
colored black and white images. A fellow student 
filmmaker, Sheila Delaney, created To Melt, a 
poetic juxtaposition of images of people from 
different generations. For elementary school- 
children, FITC offers short-term workshops, such 
as a 10-day session for Chippewa children led by 
filmmaker-sculptor Lynn Wadsworth at the Red 
Lake Indian Reservation in Northern Minnesota. 
Since no full-time art program exists in that 
community, Wadsworth's introduced both 
teachers and pupils to the media arts. Due to the 
brevity of the program, the children were instruct- 
ed in cut-out animation techniques, which they 
used to produce strong, colorful, graphic stories 
on film. 

Not only kids benefit from lessons in super 8 
filmmaking. The Boston Film/Video Foundation 
has contracted Tim Wright and Don Vogt of 
Jamaica Plain Newsreel to teach four to six sec- 
tions of basic filmmaking with super 8 every year, 
and the enrollment expands each term. Elliot 
Kaplan, who runs the education program at BF/ 
VF can only guess why interest continues to 
increase, but he notes that all film courses (anima- 
tion, 16mm editing, and basic filmmaking) have 
waiting lists and extra sections. Of the 900 people 
taking BF/VF media courses per year, about 75 
sign up for super 8. He attributes some of the 
popularity to the reputation of the Vogt-Wright 
duo, who bring basic cameras, cassette recorders, 
and unbridled enthusiasm to their classes. A 
group effort from one of their sections several 
years ago netted the first-time filmmakers respon- 
sible for Fanyard Wharf a top honor from Home- 
town USA. the National Federation of Local 
Cable Programmers' annual festival. In 1987 
Michael Phillips, another student of Vogt's, won 
the super 8 prize at the New England Film Festival 




Harmonic 

Ranch 



AUDIO FOR 



D E 



LOCK VIDEO TO 8 TRACKS 
OF AUDIO WITH SMPTE 

SOUND EFFECTS 

FOLEY 

LIP SYNCH DUBBING 

AUDIO SWEETENING 

CREATIVE SOUND 

ORIGINAL MUSIC 

$35 PER HOUR 



59 FRANKLIN ST. 
NEW YORK, NY. 10013 
2 12 9 6 6-3141 











K C C 




o 


AUDIO/VIDEO 


HARMONY,^. -accordance, 
concord, concurrence, unison, 
understanding. 

WE KNOW HOW TO 
WORK WITH YOU. 

CMX ON-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM to 1" 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM PRODUCTION 

21' X 54' SOUND STAGE 

Contact Terri 

(212)228-3063 

31 BOND STREET N.Y., N.Y. 10012 



EXIT ART 



FIRST INTERNATIONAL FORUM OF SUPER 8 

MAY 10 -21, 1988 

This two week program of screenings, panels, installations and perfor- 
mances will present a selection of recent Super 8 films through an open 
entry call in the U.S., and a curated international program. 



OPEN U.S. ENTRY CALL 



All categories of Super 8 accepted. 

Entry Fee: $15. Deadline: March 18. For entry form and further information, 
sendSASEto: EXIT ART 578 Broadway NYC 10012 (212)966-7745 



JURY 



larry kardish, film curator, The Museum of Modern Art 

john hanhardt, video/film curator, The Whitney Museum of American Art 

jonas mekas, founder/director, Anthology Film Archives 

robin dickie, program director, The Collective for Living Cinema 

howard guttenplan, director, Millennium Film Workshop 

tessa hughes-freeland, co-founder, Downtown N.Y. Film Festival 

jordi torrent, project director, First International Forum of Super 8 

This program is sponsored in part by the New York State Council on the Arts. 



578 BROADWAY NEW YORK, NY 10012 212 966-7745 . 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 9 



SEIMIMHEISER 




M 





FOStGX 

audio technica 



\CDl—\ 



SYNC RECORDERS 



Conversions by THE FILM GROUP 



db' 



UHER 

A tl P% WARPENTER ( 



p^dit 

EDITORS 



CUI19E P.O. BOX 1321 

SIHVlyE MEADVILLE, PA 16335 -0821 




INW1MNCE 



We have what 
you want... 

the competitive edge on insurance 
programs for the entertainment & 
communication industries. 




Get to know us! 



ftit.RfciMF 

&£iS$0€!fiTES 



Insurance Specialists 

Conlacl Dennis Reitl „„, 

221 West 57 Street N Y.N Y 10019 (212) 603-0231 



AFTERIMAGE 

Ideas and events in independent film, 
photography, video, and publishing. 

Subscriptions (10 issues annually) are a benefit of membership 

in the Visual Studies Workshop. Individuals, $28.00; 

institutions, $32.00. Sample copies available on request. 

Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St., Rochester, NY 14607. 



sifenftife 



with his short black and white film The Chair. 

Another success story about super 8 filmmak- 
ing programs comes from Visual Communica- 
tions in Los Angeles, which started its Filmmaker 
Development Program in 1983. With funding 
from the National Endowment for the Arts' Ex- 
pansion Arts Program, VC teaches scriptwriting 
and film production to people from Los Angeles' 
Asian American community. Based in the enter- 
tainment capital, VC benefits from the high level 
of skills practiced by part-time staffers and friends 
with jobs in Hollywood — actors, journeyman 
carpenters, and other union craftspeople. The 
completed films also draw on the experiences, 
interests, and talents of VC's community and 
reflect its concerns. Projects realized in Pam 
Tom's 1986 documentary production classes, for 
example, ranged from a film on the homeless in 
Little Tokyo to a portrait of an beloved aging 
Japanese language teacher. Narrative films made 
by students have dramatized political and social 
situations, dreams and myths, and frequently 
feature outstanding performances by local 
people, as in Chris Tashima and Kaz Takeuchi's 
films. One animated super 8 film by a VC student, 
Laureen Berger's Kabuki Suite, employed tradi- 
tional Japanese theatrical forms, while Merrilyn 
Yamada's Don Giovanni gave Mozart's hero a 
humorous aspect in an animation work using 
drawings and cut-outs. This past summer VC 
showcased films by recent graduates at a fund- 
raising event, an Asian American chili-cooking 
competition and special screening. There are also 
plans afoot to transfer some of the student-pro- 
duced super 8 films to video, which will give them 
a greater audience via TV outlets. 

Meanwhile. VC executive director Linda 
Mabalot has also been taking advantage of super 
8. She recently received a grant from the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film's Donor- 
Advised Fund for her project on hunger in the 
Philippines, produced in collaboration with Anto- 
nio deCastro. Some early production on the film 
was shot in super 8 on the island of Negros by the 
two-person crew, lightening their filmmaking 
baggage considerably. And VC's Kaz Takeuchi 
carried super 8 while in Japan to gather images for 
his forthcoming documentary on fingerprinting 
of Koreans by the Japanese. 

The proliferation of super 8 used in conjunc- 
tion with other media is astounding, even though 
super 8 equipment and services are becoming 
harder to find. Still, the thousands and thousands 
of cameras left over from home movie days, 
rejected by the hobbyists, remain in working 
order, and more artists are picking up a tool that 
works for them. With consumer video equipment 
on the rise, the hobbyists' loss is the artists' gain. 



Toni Treadway is the author, with Bob Brodsky, of 
Super 8 in the Video Age and cofounder of the 
International Center for 8mm Film and \ ideo. 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



ADDED ATTRACTIONS: 

THE SIDEBAR AT THE INDEPENDENT FEATURE FILM MARKET 




From Victor Matthews— 
'87, Eric Weissbrod's 
experimental short 
about a New York City 
artist, screened at the 
sidebar ot this year's 
Independent Feature 
Market. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Janet Wickenhaver 



From its somewhat humble but noble beginnings, 
before "independent film" was a household word, 
the Independent Feature Film Market, the New 
York-based Independent Feature Projects main 
event, has grown in size. But has it grown in 
scope? The ninth annual market last October 
featured more buyers of talent and product — 238 
buying organizations, up from last year's high of 
155 — more films, more mainstream films, more 
deals at least germinated, more contacts made, 
more parties packed with more people. Indeed the 
market has swollen beyond its facilities at the 
Department of Cultural Affairs' building at 
Manhattan's Columbus Circle and WNET-Chan- 
nel 1 3 's video screening facilities down the street. 
The atmosphere at the IFM video screening 
section and works-in-progress sidebar on the 
second floor of Channel I3's Manhattan office 
building, where films and tapes are projected in 
large-screen video, is more casual than that at the 
main feature section. Realizing that the needs of 
independent film- and videomakers are varied 
and involve not only providing a showcase for 
completed features films, but also assistance at 
the fund-raising stage, three years ago the IFM 
decided to provide a forum for screening partially 



completed work for potential investors, presale 
dealers, talent scouts, and others. In the same 
section, the market also screens shorts (that is, 
anything not feature-length), videotapes of all 
styles and lengths, as well as trailers and rough- 
cuts of features. Because the sidebar is a pot- 
pourri, its offerings vary wildly in quality and 
length. Some are five minutes. Others are 95- 
minute roughcuts that need money to pull a print. 
Some are evidently student shorts, others are 
polished documentaries or works-in-progress by 
established film- and videomakers. 

"There are levels of sexiness at the market," 
says documentarian Oren Rudavsky, who also 
attended the market last year with his award- 
winning Spark among the Ashes. "It's different 
for features than documentaries, different again 
for works-in-progress. The least sexy thing is a 
documentary that's not finished." Rudavsky 
came this year with his unfinished A Tree Still 
Stands: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe in tow. He 
was looking for completion funds and has subse- 
quently gotten at least one strong nibble, thanks to 
contacts made at the market. That's not bad, 
considering he had to change his screening time 
several times due to last minute work on the film 
and had little time to drum up an audience. "The 
key thing," says now market-seasoned Rudavsky. 
"is not to expect miracles to happen." 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



A Stitch for Time, a documentary on the Boise, 
Idaho Women's Peace Quilt project, directed by 
Nigel Noble and produced by Barbara Herbich 
and Cyril Christo, had actually found a distribu- 
tor. Jane Balfour Films, shortly before the market. 
But Herbich thought that the possibility for festi- 
val exposure made the market an attractive and 
worthwhile stomping ground. Producer Stuart 
Samuels showed video artist Zbigniew Rybc- 
zynski's Steps, a seamless blend of Eisenstein's 
famous "Odessa Steps" sequence and contempo- 
rary live action caricatures. Programmed at the 
International Television Festival at Cannes, the 
IFM screening seemed intended simply to show 
people what Rybczynski is up to. A crisply edited 
documentary. David Mamet on "House of 
Games," produced by Pam Hausman, had already 
achieved some distribution and aired on Channel 
1 3 while the market was still in progress and may 
have been been timed for the premiere of House of 
Games at the New York Film Festival. Among the 
short fiction entrants. The House guest, directed 
by Franz Harland. was one of the most stylish and 
got a lot of domestic and foreign attention. Che's 
Revenge, the directorial debut of editor Eva Gar- 
dos. also fared well. 

Whereas feature section attendees are there for 
the one rather clear-cut purpose of finding distri- 
bution in as many territories as possible, produc- 

THE INDEPENDENT 11 



CODE 16 

16 MM EDGE NUMBERING 

* Codes Every 16 Frames 

* Prints on All 16 MM Stock Including Polyester 

* Clearest, Easiest to Read Numerals Anywhere 

* Your Choice of Four Colors 

Lowest Prices Anywhere 

i,oooft $ 8.00 

Polyester Track 

i,oooft $10.00 



Let CODE 16 Sync up your dailies — 
low rates — call for information 

For any size job call 496-1118 

Same day service— Weekends & rush hours possible 

21 W. 86 ,h St. 

Monday - Friday 10-5 



Super 8 

can look like 

16 mm 

on 

Videotape 

with our 

Transfer System 

Low Rates 
Highest Quality 

S8, 8, 16 mm & Slides 

Transferred to 

All Video Formats 

Slo-mo. freeze frame avail, in 8. 

LANDYVISION 

400 E. 83 St. 

New York, N.Y. 10028 

(212) 734-1402 



E D IT 



ELECTRONIC 

ARTS 

INTERMIX 

Post-production for 

artisls and independents 

since 1971 

OFF-LINE, CUTS ONLY 
EDITING WITH TBC AND 
CHARACTER GENERATOR 

RATES 

INDEPENDENTS $25/hr. 

NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. $35/hr. 
COMMERCIAL ............. $50/hr. 

(212)473-6822 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



Theater becomes life in The Idiot, 

Charles Weinstein's feature about 

three actors whose roles in a 

Dostoevsky play begin to overtake 

their personal lives. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



ers of works-in-progress and videotapes have a 
number of possible goals in mind. Some are there 
just for exposure, to commune with their fellow 
media-makers, find investors, find out what kind 
of buyers are there when they do finish, identify 
whom to approach, or get input on directions to go 
with unfinished projects. Director Gary Pollard 
showed a five-minute segment of Going Up, a 
film-in-progress lyrically and poetically depict- 
ing the demolition and construction of a New 
York skyscraper. "We're here to educate our- 
selves," said Josh Schapiro who was repping the 
film, "to find out where it belongs." Neither Pol- 
lard nor Schapiro realized how much they would 
indeed learn about distribution and marketing. 

Or about hustling. At the market it's up to the 
filmmaker to hustle up an audience, and for many 
the market offers a crash course in the art of self- 
promotion, if nothing else. The price of ignoring 
that lesson can be steep, since buyers are barraged 
by eager beavers, and hustling, when not obnox- 
ious, often bears fruit. Since the sidebar isn't the 
main event, buyers need even greater enticement. 
Audiences at some of the screenings are heart- 
breakingly tiny. Also, weary viewers think noth- 
ing of walking out at the first sign that a film or 
tape isn't their cup of tea. Other screenings are 
packed to the gills with friends and buyers. Those 
who either can afford to hire a rep, are accustomed 
to self-hype, or have put together an eye-catching 
press kit are at a distinct advantage. Promotional 
gimmicks are also beginning to catch on at the 
event. The Going Up team sported construction 
hats, for instance. The makers of one of the works- 
in-progress hits. Only a Buck, a movie about a 
man who quits his job to make a movie, had pasted 
one dollar bills on the cover of their press kit. The 
promo-war flavor of the market is perhaps ines- 
capable, since much hinges on getting attention. 
Where art and commerce meet, commerce still 
has the upper hand. One learns how to talk about 
one's film and to whom. 

One way of knowing who to talk to at the 
market was by the color-coded badges. Pink 
badges signified buyers, blue for filmmakers or 
someone representing a film, white for various 
other categories including press. The market is 
definitely one of those events where eyes go 
directly to lapels. For some the system was un- 
comfortable, for others just haphazard. Jennie 
Livingston, attending with her documentary-in- 
progress Paris Is Burning, about a present-day 
black and Hispanic subculture, commented, 
"You're really a victim of chance in terms of 
meeting the appropriate buyer. I met someone 
who might handle the film in Europe by accident. 
The IFP should set up tables with definite times 
when someone representing the buying company 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 




will be there." There were several other com- 
plaints about buyer accessibility, exacerbated by 
the fact that inundated buyers would sometimes 
remove their badges. Some people downplayed 
the importance of getting people to come to a 
screening, emphasizing instead the need to estab- 
lish contacts that pave the way for future phone 
calls and letters. A beneficial feature of the side- 
bar was the availability of a special video screen- 
ing room for buyers who missed a potentially 
interesting film. 

Although it may be too early to tally the results 
of the market, market director Robert Odell re- 
ports that as a result of screenings in the works-in- 
progress section. Home Box Office and Miramax 
committed finishing funds for two fiction films. 
He also terms this year's market "the most suc- 
cessful ever, in every respect." But growth can 
also have a downside. Growth does not necessar- 
ily represent expansion around a fixed center, and, 
therefore, can also mean a change of orientation. 
Amidst the general good cheer and positive feel- 
ings there were some grumblings that indicated 
this potential direction. 

Kevin Duggan, coproducer with Geraldine 
Fallo of Palcrson, a fictional work about attitudes 
towards work, expressed disappointment, observ- 
ing, "The IFP fulfills an important need, but the 
group of people it is serving is narrower. Its focus 
is narrower. While it appears that there is more 
going on, more films, more deals, 1 think there's 
less really happening." There are many in the 
independent community who think the IFM has 
subtly been shifting its focus, away from present- 
ing and helping challenging and off-beat films 
towards more careful and commercially \ iable 
material, or films tight on the cutting edge but not 
too far afield. With some notable exceptions. 



there were a slew of careful films at the market this 
year, and a slew of buyers looking for the "next big 
thing." 

This was the first year in which more films 
were submitted than could be accommodated in 
the market. In past years the market was adver- 
tised as being a nonselective event, as long as 
work was completed within the last year and 
conformed to broadcast standards, wasn't porn, 
racist, blatant propaganda, or sexist. This year 18 
films were rejected from the feature section, and 
an undisclosed number from the works-in-prog- 
ress/video section [see "Media Clips," p. 2]. 
Asked if they agreed that the market should be 
selective in terms of quality, most film- and video- 
makers said they thought the market should be 
even more selective. However, Stanley Nelson, 
who made Two Dollars and a Dream, a documen- 
tary about the first black millionairess, Madame 
C. J. Walker, differed, adding that he thought se- 
lectivity was to be distrusted. 

The process of selection will inevitably engen- 
derdispute overpolicy and the market's function. 
Clearly, the IFP must make some choices in 
managing the market's growth. And some diffi- 
cult questions may have to be addressed: Is it the 
market's mandate to serve the priorities of buyers 
or to help film- and videomakers with unconven- 
tional work to cultivate and educate the distribu- 
tors and exhibitors who attend? Where, if not the 
IFP Market, will the makers of radical or unusual 
films and tapes be able to screen their work for the 
gatekeepers of the audiences they seek? And. if 
the process of selection is institutionalized, who 
then become the gatekeepers lor the gatekeepers? 

Janet Wickenhaver is a freelance writer and 
screenwriter living in Hoboken. 











K C C 




O/ 

w 


All DIO/V 1 DEO 


SKILLFUL,SyA?.-able, adept, 
clever,competent, expert, 
ingenious, practiced, proficient. 

WE KNOW HOW TO 
WORK WITH YOU. 

CMX ON-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM to 1 " 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM PRODUCTION 

21' X 54' SOUND STAGE 

Contact Terri 
(212)228-3063 

31 BOND STREET N.Y., N.Y. 10012 



Beta , ' 



verV thin9 



,n* eC 



ordinS 



Studio 8, ^—v 

Bet3Ca ldCre- 

F*pe rien 

o«v Stud' equips 

'"** product 

Cor*P ,et D e rod uct'on 



?M 



Contact: Matt Clarke 
or Jeff Byrd 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 





A scene from Ceddo, 
written and directed 
by one of Africa's 
leading filmmakers, 
Ousmane Sembene. 

Courtesy New Yorker Films 



Ntongela Masilela 



Historically, African cinema and Afro- American cinema can and should be 
located within the same social space of the Third Cinema-Third World 
Cinema. In broad terms, however, the former can be characterized by the 
search for and interrogation of origins, while the latter can be defined by its 
fight for positions and identity. African cinema seeks to establish methods 
and systems ofproduction, distribution, and viewing, while Afro-American 
cinema struggles to intervene in established modes of cinematic production. 
And, while African cinema is produced within diverse political and cultural 
national contexts, Afro-American cinema is situated within a particular 
national culture, albeit one governed by complex and nuanced historical, 
social, and economic factors. The movement of historical events is the 
primary — although not the only — preoccupation of African cinema, while 
the examination of social mechanisms is central to Afro-American cinema. 
In both cinemas, however, oppression, liberation, struggle, and hope inform 
thematic structures and references. 

In a statement of the utmost significance. Ousmane Sembene, the pioneer 
of African cinema and its outstanding exponent, has said that the importance 
of cinema in Africa is equivalent to education, science, and other institutions 
essential to the definition and sustenance of a vibrant and vital culture — and 
should thus be given the corresponding recognition. Indeed. Sembene's 
observation accords supreme responsibility to African cinema, since it is an 
artistic instrument that can play a prominent role in demystifying and 



eradicating certain obstacles that have hindered or deflected the develop- 
ment of many African countries. And, correspondingly. African cinema has 
examined the structures and coordinates of African history in order to 
analyze these same obstacles-. In pursuing this endeavor, African cinema has 
confronted a set of cultural realities: for centuries European national 
histories superimposed themselves on African national histories through 
force and ideological distortion. This process has traumatized African 
national and ethnic cultures, and consequently many of them began to 
disintegrate, although many others were able to repulse this assault. In the 
process, some African intellectuals and artists lost their sense of direction 
and responsibility to their peoples. Films like Sembene's Ceddo (1978, 
Senegal), Haile Gerima's Harvest: 3000 Years (1976, Ethiopia), and Med 
Hondo's West Indies (1979. Mauritania) attempted — and in many ways 
succeeded — to overcome these obstacles by treating African history and 
herstory as an integral whole and by embellishing narrative structures with 
African oral narrative modes, thus establishing links between a traditional 
culture and modernity. These crucial contributions to African cinema 
enabled Sembene to take the position cited above. 

A primary aim of African cinema up to the present has been to reintroduce 
the African into history. The political imperatives of this project are 
historical in range and sociological in depth. That African cinema addresses 
the problem of history is hardly surprising, since for approximately four 
centuries we Africans had been expelled from its domain by capitalism, 
colonialism, and imperialism. For the most part, the heterogeneity of 
African political, economic, and cultural structures was inverted by Euro- 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 




A dance scene from Oscar 
Micheaux's Jivin' in Bebop. 

Courtesy Museum of Modern Art 




pean colonialism into the supposed homogeneity of our backwardness. The 
imperatives of cultural and political struggle have given African cinema the 
task, among many others, of retrieving and rehabilitating the uniqueness of 
African national cultural patterns. Ceddo and Harvest fulfill this eminent 
task in an exemplary fashion. At the same time, these two films — and others 
that could be included in this profile — have attempted to define African 
history: its thematic structures, its patterns and configurations, its unities 
and contradictions, and its meanings and significations. Whether in presen- 
tations of conflict and struggle between imperial history (of whatever 
colonial power) and African national history as in Ceddo or in the exami- 
nation of class struggle in African feudal society as in Harvest, these films 
effect ademystification of the ideological biases of European colonial his- 
toriography and, more importantly, attempt to locate the proper place of 
Africans in history, within a global culture of nations. In bringing these 
interrelated themes together. Ceddo and Harvest belong within the African 
philosophical space opened and dominated by the theoretical writings of 
Amilcar Cabral (whose writings occupy a position within our national 
cultures comparable to that of Antonio Gramsci's work in European 
cultures), who articulated the theoretical concepts, the cultural forms, and 
the modes of armed struggle by which we Africans should re-enter African 
history and world history. Both films embody the lesson of the inseparabil- 
ity and indissolubility of politics and culture, the central construct of the 
conceptual framework of Cabral's writings. 

While the lineage of African cinema is relatively short, the genealogy of 
Afro-American cinema is more extensive and different in character. Using 
Gramscian metaphors — while the African cinema wages a "war of move- 
ment" on the historical plane in order to expel and defeat imperialist 
cinematic images of blacks, Afro- American cinema has been waging a "war 
of position" within the U.S. cultural landscape in order to gain acceptance 
for its independent status and to dispel the negative images of blacks which 
Hollywood has perpetrated — from Griffith's Birth of a Nation in 1915 to 
The Color Purple in 1985. That independent Afro-American cinema, 
defining itself in class terms against the dominant white American cinema. 
has produced major figures — from Oscar Micheaux to Gordon Parks 
(although his position is problematic within the American black cinema) — 
is undeniable.' 

The founding of Afro-American cinema was characterized by two 
phenomena which effected its development and are in evidence even today. 



In ideological terms, these films articulate historical forms of self-identifi- 
cation, that is, they chart, trace, and map on the landscape of dominant white 
consciousness authentic poetic forms of black subjectivity. And, sociologi- 
cally. Afro- American cinema has existed in opposition to the Hollywood 
film industry's monopoly of economic institutions (production channels, 
distribution networks, and exhibition forums). From this perspective, it was 
the establishment in 1 9 1 6 of Noble and George Johnson's Lincoln Motion 
Picture Company in Los Angeles that we can date Afro-American cinema. 
Their first motion picture. The Realization of a Negro's Ambition, not only 
portrayed blacks as complex individuals (in contrast to Hollywood stere- 
otypes), but was the first film to specifically address a black audience (not, 
however, excluding a white audience). Other films followed this route from 
1917 onwards. For instance, Booker T. Washington and his secretary 
Emmett J. Scott (both of the Tuskegee Institute) attempted to establish a 
black foothold in Hollywood, in reaction to the racism and blackphobia of 
Birth of a Nation. Their Hollywood film, The Birth of Race (1919), failed 
financially and with it their larger ambition of creating a place for black 
producers and directors in Hollywood failed too. The same fate befell the 
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Lincoln's 
Dream (1920). Perhaps the poor performance of these two films can be 
attributed to the fact that they were not produced from a truly independent 
base. 

The fully-formed structures, concrete practices, artistic expressions, and 
political manifestations of an independent Afro-American cinema (as 
distinct from Afro-American cinema conforming to the practices and forms 
of the film industry) can be traced to the films of Oscar Micheaux and his 
independent production unit formed in 1 9 1 8, the Micheaux Film and Book 
Company. Micheaux also established an important method for financing his 
independent films — securing advances from theater owners lor his films, 
which ensured that he could work within modest budgets without jeopard- 
izing distribution of his films. It could be argued that his contribution la> not 
so much in the artistic achievements of his films, many of which pandered 
to fashionable prejudices devoid of serious cultural critiques, but rather in 
his persistent efforts to establish an independent black cinema. Whate\ er 
the limitations of his ideological and political culture, however, Micheaux's 
films — from The Homesteaders (1918) to The Betrayal ( l l )4S> — were in 
accord with the beliefs of W.E.B. DuBois, who identified racism as the 
central problem of the twentieth century, all hough Micheaux wasne\erable 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



Disillusioned Vietnam veteran Ned Charles (John 
Anderson) in Haile Gerima's feature Ashes and 
Embers. 

Courtesy Mypheduh Films 



to take this question beyond the class boundaries of the black bourgeoisie. 

Nevertheless. Micheaux introduced many of the thematic spheres within 
which Afro-American cinema has since concerned itself. The themes of 
Micheaux's films were far-reaching, ranging from the problems of interra- 
cial romance to the traumas of collapsing black marriages to the corruption 
of the church. But unlike Eisenstein, his contemporary whose films revolve 
around a central thematic object — the glorification and celebration of the 
past — or Vertov, who attempted to explain and clarify the struggle of the 
present moment. Micheaux's work lacks aconceptual center orphilosophi- 
cal object that would have established their coherence and rigor. This 
absence, in addition to the effects of imposed technical limitations, tends to 
make his films appear fragmented. However, one contribution to 
Micheaux's great credit was his casting Paul Robeson in Body and Soul 
( 1924). the first step in Robeson's film acting career. In retrospect, this is 
especially significant because the theatrics, metaphysics, and poetics of a 
particular tradition of American acting, epitomized by Marlon Brando and 
carried on in the work of actors like Al Pacino, Gloria Foster, Robert 
DeNiro, Anne Bancroft, and James Earl Jones, originated with Paul 
Robeson's early film performances — an enduring and brilliant tradition. 

It was approximately 20 years after the death of Oscar Micheaux that the 
black independent cinema was reinvigorated and reanimated by Melvin 
Van Peebles' Sweet Sweethack' s Baadassss Song (1971). In the interreg- 
num. Hollywood films about Afro-Americans, ■such as Mark Robson's 
Home of the Brave (1949), Robert Tossen's Island in the Sun (1957), and 
Stanley Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner ( 1 967), held sway. With 
the great commercial success of Van Peebles' film, Hollywood took note 
and began producing a cycle of black-exploitation films, including well- 
known successes like Gordon Park Jr.'s Super Fly (1972) and The Legend 
of Nigger Charley ( 1972). In contrast to the the fifties, when black inde- 
pendent cinema had fallen into eclipse, in the seventies an often sharp and 
uncompromising contest between Hollywood and Afro-American inde- 
pendent producers erupted, and — in artistic terms — in the early eighties the 
black independent cinema tentatively prevailed. Van Peebles, then, is 
important historically for having shown that an independent black film 
could challenge Hollywood's hegemony over the U.S. film market rather 
than for any intrinsic contribution he made to the enlargement and develop- 
ment of Afro-American aesthetics. 

In the last decade, however, several films appeared that confirmed the 
vitality of Afro-American cinema and contributed significantly to its 
development — Gerima's American film Ashes and Embers ( 1982), Charles 
Burnett's My Brother's Wedding ( 1 982). both independently produced, and 
Gordon Parks' Leadhellyi 1976). a studio-financed production. A common 
element in all three films is that each, in its particular way, elaborates the 
meanings of Langston Hughes' poem "Justice": 

That Justice is a blind goddess 
Is a thing to which we blacks are wise: 
Her bandages hide two festering sores 
That once perhaps were eyes. 

In Leadhclly Parks attempts to retrieve a unique moment of Afro- 
American cultural history through a portrait of the great blues singer. That 
Hollywood effectively destroyed the film by refusing it wide distribution is 
not accidental, since the film is highly political in its preservation of the 




cultural richness of the Afro-American heritage.' Burnett's My Brother's 
Wedding . on the other hand, uses the indecisi veness and hesitation of Pierce, 
a troubled young man who vacillates between attending his brother's 
wedding and a friend's funeral, to enact a metaphor of the complex and 
unstable dialectic of class and race for Afro- Americans in relation to social 
institutions in the U.S. The uniqueness of Gerima's A shes and Ambers is that 
it successfully transposes an African oral narrative form into cinematic 
narrative. From this synthesis emerges an epic film, a film that symbolizes 
issues broader than the specific historical drama it portrays. As Gerima has 
explained: 

Next, there is the idea of struggle. My characters must struggle, both to define 
themselves and to overcome their oppression and exploitation... For instance, in 
Ashes and Embers. I wanted to present a generation in struggle through a character 
who had an extreme experience — fighting in Viet nam — that has left him scarred. 
He must fight; he must struggle to understand himself and his relationships with 
those around him so that he can be transformed. 4 

These three films, then, using very different means, mobilize and give 
direction to a politicized cultural consciousness which, at the time when 
they were made, was in danger of exhaustion as the conservative social 
agenda of Reaganism became institutionalized in the U.S. 

Returning to the comparison with African cinema, the longer lineage of 
independent Afro-American cinema can be described as two distinct 
periods: the first, stretching^ from 1924 to 1948, the period of Oscar 
Micheaux's productions, was characterized by psychological representa- 
tions that marked an effort to come to terms with racism in U.S. culture: 
during the second, from the demise of the Second Reconstruction (signalled 
by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968) to the present, the 
dominant approach has been sociological or, more appropriately, a manifes- 
tation of sociological imagination. These two tendencies developed cumu- 
latively and successively. African cinema, on the other hand, has been 
simultaneously informed by two structures of meaning. In part, this can be 
attributed to its recent formation, dating from 1963, the year when 
Sembene's first film, Borom Saret. was made. Hence, the organization of 
meaning according to political themes seen in more recent African cin- 
ema — exemplified by Sembene's Xala (1974) and Soulemane Cisse's 
Baara (1978), among other films — is adjacent to and contiguous with the 
historical structuring evident in Gerima's Harvest and Sembene's Ceddo. 
This is hardly surprising, since the affinity of the earlier films exhibit 
affinities with the philosophy of Frantz Fanon. while the historical work of 
the late seventies — Ceddo, Harvest. West Indies, et al. — can be aligned 
with that of Cabral. In Fanon we encounter a desparate and brilliant attempt 
to violently restructure African political systems and philosophies that 
emerge in the wake of anticolonial wars, while in Cabral we are presented 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



Xala, Sembene's critique of of African 
neo-colonialism. 

Courtesy New Yorker Films 



with a reshaping and remapping of the social geography of African history. 
Although it's doubtful that Gerima, Sembene, and Cisse have not read the 
works of these two major figures in African Marxism, 5 I do not mean to 
imply that their films are simply cinematic translations of their philosophi- 
cal texts. Rather, I mean to indicate that the full aesthetic and historical 
meaning of these films can only reveal their originality within the "dialo- 
gism" between Fanon's political philosophy and Cabral's philosophy of 
history. Although these films indicate their unity on this continental plane, 
they equally differentiate themselves from each other by simultaneously 
articulating national cultural patterns, national ideological conflicts, and 
national class confrontations. Nonetheless, it possible without engaging in 
a complicated argument to discern an affinity between Fanon's critique of 
the national bourgeoisie in The Wretched of the Earth and the political 
structure of African cinema in the seventies. For example, in Xala the 
impotence, profound stupidity, and nervelessness of the African national 
bourgeoisie is conveyed in its true tragic dimension. The politics of the film 
could be summarized by the following thesis from The Wretched of the 
Earth: 

The national bourgeoisie of underdeveloped countries is not engaged in production, 
nor in invention, nor building, nor labour; it is completely canalized into activities of 
the intermediary type. Its innermost vocation seems to be to keep in the running and 
to be part of the racket.... 

Seen through its eyes, its mission has nothing to do with transforming the nation; 
it consists, prosaically, of being the transmission line between the nation and a 
capitalism, rampant though camouflaged, which today puts on the mask of neocolo- 
nialism." 

Baara, too. in which the national bourgeoisie betrays the national interests, 
imitates new cosmopolitan fashion, and lacks imaginative appreciation of 
its own national treasures, could be seen in terms of Fanon's formulations: 

The struggle against the bourgeoisie of underdeveloped countries is far from being 
a theoretical one. It is not concerned with making out its condemnation as laid down 
by the judgement of history. The national bourgeoisie of underdeveloped countries 
must not be opposed because it threatens to slow down the total, harmonious 
development of the nation. It must simply be stoutly opposed because, literally, it is 
good for nothing." 

In conclusion, the analysis and interpretations offered here concerning 
distinctions within Afro-American cinema and within African cinema, and 
those between them, are intended to suggest some directions for criticism 
that takes as its point of departure the material reality of each. Certain 
important processes, events, and factors in both Afro-American and African 
cinemas have not been mentioned because of their analytical complexities." 
What I have tried to establish, however, is that the structural coordinates of 
African cinema and black American independent cinema show how impor- 
tant it is to situate their dialectical movement within the politics of Pan- 
Africanism — the very Pan-Africanism represented by two names in modern 
black film culture. Paul Robeson and Hailc Gerima. 




Cinema: A Critical Dictionary: The Major Film-Makers (London: Thames and 
Hudson. 1980). a major standard reference work, mentions not even one important 
black American filmmaker. let alone an African filmmaker, whether Ousmane 
Sembene or Yousef Chahine. This outstanding omission underlines yet again the fact 
that integration of Afro-Americans into institutions that influence U.S. democracy 
remains a fundamental issue in that culture. 

2. In a private conversation in West Berlin on March 1 8. 1 986, Haile Gerima stated 
that one of the important present tasks of the black American independent cinema is 
to struggle against the artificially inflated high costs of film production in the U.S. The 
survival of the Afro-American independent cinema hinges on this. 

3. See Gordon Park's fascinating interview in: The Cineaste Interviews: On the Art 
and Politics of the Cinema, Dan Georgakas and Lenny Rubenstein, eds. (Chicago: 
Lake View Press, 1983). pp. 173-180. 

4. Rob Edelman, "Storyteller of Struggles: An Interview with Haile Gerima," The 
Independent, October 1985, p. 16. 

5. In a lecture titled "Frantz Fanon: Our Contemporary Zeitgeist," presented on the 
occasion of the 25-year anniversary of Fanon's death at the Berlin Technical 
University on December 6. 1986, 1 argued for the emergence of African Marxism in 
the writings of Fanon and Amilcar Cabral. That essay will appear in a forthcoming 
issue of Das Argument, a West German political and philosophical journal. 

6. Frantz Fanon, TheWretched of the Earth (London: Penguin Books. 1969). pp. 120- 
122. 



7. 1 hid.. 



8. For instance. I have not dealt with the contributions of Paulin Vieyra in relation to 
African cinema and William Greaves in the Afro-American context. 



Ntongela Masilela. a black South African independent filmmaker presently 
residing in exile in West Berlin and member of Fountain/lead Dance 
Theater, just completed two documentary films — on black music and 
dance — in Poland. 

© Ntogcla Masilela l l )SS 



NOTES 



I . Ii is utterly incomprehensible how Richard Road's 1 .095 page two-volume stud} . 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



Timothy Landers 



Aids is not only a medical crisis on an unparalleled scale, it involves a crisis 
of representation itself, a crisis over the entire framing of knowledge about 
the human body and its capacities for sexual pleasure. 

— Simon Watney 
from Policing Desire 

Commercial television introduces its AIDS specials by emphasizing the 
mass media's responsibility for public health and its concern for the welfare 
of each individual viewer. Presented with the humble intention of "saving 
your life," these programs promote a contradictory agenda that encourages 
the consumption of information (and products) through the creation of fear. 
Tom Brokaw demonstrated this when, in NBC News National Forum: Life, 
Death and AIDS (January 21. 1986), he called AIDS "the plague" while 
promising to put an end to confusion. Over and over, with dramatic urgency. 



straight-talking newscasters warn us, "AIDS will kill you if you get it." This 
earnest approach promises the viewer that this is one story that won't be 
sugar-coated but. inevitably, it is. Such incitements to panic are followed by 
soothing reassurances that AIDS is largely confined to others. The raison 
d'etre of the AIDS special is to keep it that way. 

One of the shortcomings of commercial television's AIDS coverage lies 
in its insistence on speaking to one audience — the you addressed is pre- 
sumed to be white, middle-class, heterosexual, and healthy, grouped in 
cozy, stable families. Those responsible for these television programs 
completely ignore the possibility that many of those watching may be 
struggling with AIDS on a more immediate level. In his CBS News Special 
special titled, appropriately enough, AIDS Hits Home (October 22, 1986), 
Dan Rather unwittingly spoke this premise when he blurted out, "The scary 
reality is that gays are no longer the only ones getting it." Rather and others' 
skewed notion of "reality" is under attack, and the "home" must be 
rigorously defended. More ominously, these programs suggest that gays 
exist outside and against this "reality," their deaths having little conse- 
quence. 




18 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



Opposite: On June 5, 1987, ABC Nighfline convened 
a four-hour marathon "Town Meeting" to discuss 
AIDS, employing almost every cliched emblem of 
AIDS now in the mass media lexicon. 

Top right: As the number of people diagnosed with 
AIDS increases, educational videotapes on AIDS 
aimed at various audiences are proliferating. 
Above: Two teenagers debate the pros and cons of 
sex in ODN Productions' AIDS: Just Say No. 

Bottom right: Anticipating a sexual encounter, a 
nervous man calls a friend for advice in the Gay 
Men's Health Crisis' Chance of a Lifetime. 



The prevailing representations about AIDS indicate that it threatens not 
only physical bodies and institutional bodies, in particular law and health- 
care systems, but that it is attacking the immune system of the social order 
itself. When Science fails — by not developing a cure for AIDS — the 
scientific explanations of disease and sexuality, similarly constructed and 
frequently intersecting, are revealed as the precarious fictions that they are. 
Models of sexuality and disease — and their sites, the mind and the body — 
are postulated as "normal" or "abnormal" through a series of binary oppo- 
sitions: masculine/feminine, heterosexual/homosexual, and healthy/ill. 

Commercial media representations in general are informed by a variation 
on the normal/abnormal paradigm — one better suited to a visual medium: 
that of Bodies/Anti-Bodies. The Body — white, middle-class, and hetero- 
sexual — is constructed in contrast to the Other, the Anti-Body (frequently 
absent from representation) — blacks, gay men, lesbians, workers, foreign- 
ers, in short, the whole range of groups that threaten straight, white, middle- 
class values. It is important to note the complex, often paradoxical nature of 
this model, bisected by class, gender, sexual preference, and other qualifi- 
cations. For instance, advertisements are structured around a subdivision 
within the primary category of Body — the "beautiful" (thin) Body vs. the 
"ugly" (fat) Anti-Body. Applied to the subject of AIDS, oppositions revolve 
around the nexus of health. The Body is, above all, healthy. The Anti-Body 
becomes, specifically, gay, black. Latino, the IV drug user, the prostitute — 
in other words, sick. Tinged with the stigma of illness that dramatically 
destroys the body, what was usually absent from representation becomes 
spectacularly and consistently visible. 

Mass media images of people with AIDS show isolated, emaciated, 
hospital-bound, bed-ridden individuals. The message is clear — AIDS is 
fatal. The Anti-Body is consumed, while in advertisements during the 
commercial breaks the Body consumes. The camera dwells on healthy 
bodies in these documentaries, with images of people with AIDS acting as 
punctuation. Healthy, but anxious. Bodies discuss how to avoid AIDS; 
singles boogie in discos, work-out in mirrored health clubs, and exchange 
AIDS-era dating tips. "I neversleep with anyone unless I know them first," 
says one blonde model-type. Another says, "Sex is like playing Russian 
roulette," a metaphor that has found favor with newscasters in search of the 
no-nonsense catch-phrase. 

Another common element is stock footage of laboratory science at 
work — microscopes, test tubes, hardware, etc. An anchorperson often 
narrates a segment standing in a lab, while a white-coated technician tinkers 
with test-tubes and impressive machines churn blood in the background, 
suggesting that Science is perfecting a cure even as we speak. In these 
sequences, media and science are also wed in dazzling displays of technol- 
ogy, where photographic magnification reveals the HIV virus and elec- 
tronic manipulation colorizes and animates it. 

In addition to the standard lab shot, the conventional intro-to-AIDS 
documentary contains one or more of the following: an in-studio panel and 
"experts" from around the world communicating via satellite; interviews 
with people living with AIDS (PWAs): an IV drug user and gay man vs. a 
hemophiliac or unsuspecting partner of a bi-sexual man; a scene of drug- 
users shooting up. usually in a Lower East Side vacant lot; shots of a 
streetwalker soliciting business (this shot always has a voyeuristic, "hidden 





camera" look, with the "hooker" often bathed in red light while she saunters 
up to a car); shots of blood being drawn, illustrating "testing"; shot of two 
men, often wearing jeans and flannel shirts, walking arm-in-arm down 
Castro Street to illustrate "homosexual liberation." which we're told, 
resulted in the "promiscuity" of the seventies that is the source of AIDS: 
distressed parents picketing schools; and the obligatory singles aerobi- 
cizing, dancing, socializing. 

The documentary claim to objectivity in these programs — and the 
structure imposed on this kind of illustrative footage — is founded, once 
again, in the point/counterpoint treatment of the "issues" that have become 
synonymous with AIDS: condom advertising, safe-sex education, school- 
ing for children with AIDS, people with AIDS in the workplace, mandator) 
testing, and quarantine. Given what is known about how AIDS is transmit- 
ted, that certain positions should be treated as "controversial," implying that 
they exist within a rational, moral arena and are, therefore, worthy of debate, 
legitimates morally and medically questionable solutions under the guise oi 
objectivity and in the name of democracy. In this regard, we're asked to 
consider the pros and cons of clearly barbarous measures like William F. 
Buckley's proposal to tattoo people who test positive for HIV, orquaran tine 
laws, now on the books in Louisiana and other stales 

ABC Nightline's AIDS: A National Town Meeting (June 5, l l) S~. de 
serves special notice, not only because it was broadcast live but because it 
was the Baroque version of the AIDS special — four hours long, with a 
Studio panel of 19 "experts" (more than comparable shows combined), 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 




numerous satellite hook-ups. studio audience participants, phone-in ques- 
tions from around the nation, and vignettes on topics from "epidemics" to 
"euthenasia." The title indicates one of mass media's central mythologies: 
the United States is one big. democratic town, and television provides the 
democratic forum, a Town Hall where tough issues are grappled with and 
resolved and where a show of hands is replaced by the results of a 
nationwide poll. Because of its excesses, and the fact that it was live, and 
thus open to unpredictability, the program periodically threatened to erupt 
into chaos. The studio audience repeatedly heckled when Senator Danne- 
meyer — homophobe extraordinaire — spoke, and some articulate panel 
members were able to forcefully argue positions more radical than those on 
Ted Koppel's moderate agenda. For instance, much to Koppel's chagrin 
playwright Harvey Fierstein stressed that it is risky behavior, not "risk 
groups" or promiscuity, that exposes one to the HIV virus. 

The compulsion to give AIDS a "face." to externalize the HI V antibodies 
characteristic of AIDS by identifying Anti-Bodies, provides the impetus for 
many mass media representations of PWAs as well as proposals for 
mandatory testing. The attempt to "humanize" AIDS by presenting the 
"face of AIDS" offers a justification for this approach that anthropomor- 
phizes the virus and dehumanizes the PWA. The "face" inscribed with the 
status of its internal fluids becomes a cipher through which a dreaded 
disease speaks its ugly truth. AIDS: A Public Inquiry (March 25.1987). an 
hour-long documentary produced by WGBH-Boston and aired on the 
Public Broadcasting Service's Frontline series, is obsessed with identifying 
the enemy and demonstrates the insidious underside of the "face of AIDS" 
mentality. The program starts out fairly typically: Judy Woodruff gives the 
"facts" about AIDS, backed up with statistics made easy-to-understand by 
playful computer graphics. The panel of experts is introduced, carefully 
balanced with doctors, representatives from gay organizations, and right- 
wing ideologues. The stage is set for one of the most irresponsible represen- 
tations of AIDS aired in this country. 

"This is a portrait," Woodruff announces, "of a man with AIDS who 
continued to have unsafe sex." In this way she introduces the centerpiece of 
the show. Fabian Bridges. Bridges is "not typical" we are told, in an attempt 
at reassurance. He is gay . black, poor, and not particularly alert or articulate. 
The characteristics of AIDS — lethargy, confusion and incoherence — be- 
come his personal attributes and not the result of the HIV virus, although, 
as some critics have pointed out. it's likely that Bridges was in the early 
stages of dementia, a physical result of the HIV virus' attack on the brain. 
The camera crew. Woodruff then explains, follows him on "his tragic 
journey across the U.S.A." 

Bridges is encountered in medias res. having been diagnosed, hospital- 
ized, and released. Rejected by his family, without insurance or a job. he 
begins to wander. Since the filmmakers discovered Bridges through a 
newspaper item, they must First track him down. So the story begins with his 



absence — we see an empty hospital bed, a vacant phone booth indicates 
calls for help made to his family. And his absence indicates the threat his 
presence represents to "the nation": if he is not on camera, he must be out 
there, somewhere, spreading the HIV virus. Television, then, becomes the 
vortex of the storm, and its inability to contain the agent of destruction 
foretells the chaos that lies just outside the screen's perimeters. By casting 
the central character in this way, the documentary leads to an inevitable 
conclusion: quarantine, the only way to solve the acute anxiety that Bridges 
represents. 

While Bridges is found, then lost, then found again by the crew, the 
situation grows more urgent. As an example of impartial reporting, the 
Frontline crew is a model of disaster, giving Bridges money, doing his 
laundry, and ultimately reporting him to health ofFicials. Thus public 
officials are made aware of the threat, the walking AIDS virus, a modern- 
day Typhoid Mary. Along with shots of Bridges wandering aimlessly and 
confessing to the camera that he has. as we are led to suspect, had unsafe sex 
because he "just doesn't care" is footage of police and government officials 
who voice their frustration with Bridges' right to be assumed innocent 
before proven guilty. There is no doubt in AIDS: A Public Inquiry that 
Bridges is guilty. Legal and ethical problems posed by his situation are 
trivialized and individual rights and democratic processes are depicted as a 
paralyzed and ineffective bureaucratic circus that leaves the public vulner- 
able to a deadly threat. 

□ □ □ 

The Body/Anti-Body split prevalent in the conceptualization of AIDS 
operates on a series of already formulated definitions. In the first volume of 
his History of Sexuality (New York: Randon House, 1978), Michel Foucault 
discusses the ideological mechanisms that allow an act capable of being 
committed by any body — sodomy — to become firmly anchored to a spe- 
cific Body — the "homosexual." And. in AIDS in the Mind of America: The 
Social, Political and Psychological Impact of an Epidemic (New York: 
Anchor Press/Doubleday. 1 986), Dennis Altman notes. "[T]he fact that the 
first reported cases [of AIDS] were among gay men was to effect the entire 
future conceptualization of AIDS." Others have also pointed out that the 
extant discourse on homosexuality provides the shape, the invisible frame- 
work, the explanation-by-association for AIDS.* It is the reigning idea of 
"homosexuality" that is never represented but upon which many represen- 
tations of AIDS rely. 

Because the gay man has been established as the icon for AIDS, it is 

* See. in addition to the sources cited. Alan Brandt. "AIDS: From Social History to 
Social Policy." in Law. Medicine and Health Care. Vol.14, Nos. 15-16 (December 
1986). pp. 231-241. 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



Far left: Members of the Theater Rhinoceros cast of 
The AIDS Show in Rob Epstein and Peter Adair's 
documentary of the same title. 

Courtesy Direct Cinema 

Left: A conversation between two doctors on 
theories of symptom identification introduces Stuart 
Marshall's videotape Bright Eyes. 

Courtesy videomaker 

Right: The central character in Marc Huestis and 
Wendy Dallas' docu-bio Chuck Solomon: Coming 
of Age with his mother. 

Courtesy filmmakers 

important to see how this conflation of disease and desire informs concep- 
tualizations and descriptions of AIDS, particularly through the panic- 
inducing theory of casual transmission. A chapter in Simon Watney's 
Policing Desire: Pornography, AIDS and the Media (Minneapolis: Univer- 
sity of Minnesota Press, 1987), entitled "Infectious Desires" illustrates 
some of the contradictions that the figure of "the homosexual" embodies. He 
cites a school textbook from the 1 960s that provides a revealing "contagion/ 
seduction" model of homosexuality: 

The greatest danger in homosexuality lies in the introduction of normal people to it. 
An act which will produce nothing but disgust in a normal individual may quite 
easily become more acceptable until the time arrives when the normal person by full 
acceptance of the abnormal act becomes a pervert too. 

Homosexuality, this statement implies, is a contagious "disease," transmit- 
ted casually and capable of breaking down individual will-power, resulting 
in its spread through the "normal" population. This suggests that will-power 
must unrelentingly police the boundaries of desire, locating homosexuality 
within, as well as outside, the individual.* 

As anyone who pays even minimal attention to mass media knows, this 
model structures AIDS as well as "homosexuality." At work, then, is an 
analogy of the immune system with will-power; both become barriers 
against "abnormality." When AIDS is thus conflated with homosexuality, 
some of the imagined properties of "homosexuality" are grafted onto AIDS, 
despite all evidence to the contrary. The logical outcome of this conceptual 
system is an innocent/guilty dichotomy of "victims" — both the "victims" 
who succumb to homosexuality and the "victims" of AIDS. The "normal" 
person who, through a combination of seduction (breakdown of will-power) 
and contagion becomes abnormal is both "innocent victim" (previously 
"normal") and "guilty victim" (who allowed him- or herself to catch it). In 
the case of AIDS, there are sharp divisions conforming to these innocent/ 
guilty categories, with children, hemophiliacs, female partners of bisexual 
men occupying the former and gay men. IV drug users, prostitutes, Haitians 
occupying the latter. However, it is important to note that all are guilty of 
being "victims," a stigma which, according to the prevailing interrelated 
mythologies of strength of will, and rugged individualism, could be pre- 
vented. 

In Illness as Metaphor (New York: Vintage Books, 1977) Susan Sontag 
quotes Karl Menningcr in her discussion of how illness is blamed on the 
victim and how certain illnesses (in this case, cancer and tuberculosis) are 
formulated: 

Illness is in part what the world has done to a victim, but in a larger part it is what 
the victim has done with his world, and with himself... Illness is interpreted as, 

* The recent amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education 
Appropriation Bill (which provides close to a billion dollars for AIDS research and 
funding), sponsored by Senator Jesse Helms, prohibits use of federal funds for any 
AIDS education or information materials that "promote or encourage, directly or 
indirectly, homosexual activities." Despite the proven success ot sale sex education 
materials among gay men. the Senate voted 94 to two in favor of this amendment, 
indicating the degree to which the "casual transmission" concept of homosexuality 
operates among liberals as well as conservatives and that they are more concerned 
with preventing the "spread" of homosexuality than the HIV virus. 




basically, a psychological event, and people are encouraged to believe that they get 
sick because they (unconsciously) want to, and that they can cure themselves by the 
mobilization of will; that they can chose not to die of the disease. 

Similarly, homosexuality can not only be prevented but "cured" through 
self-discipline, a mobilization of the will. In their 1987 pamphlet What 
Homosexuals Do (It's More than Merely Disgusting) the right-wing Family 
Research Institute echoes a sentiment common to more respectable institu- 
tions like the Catholic Church: 

Those who would recognize homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle are being 
manifestly unkind because they refuse hope and motivation to those homosexually 
involved and are adding to the sexual difficulties of our civilization. Homosexuals 
should be encouraged to abandon their unfortunate habit as millions have before 
them. 

Just as safe sex education is seen as encouraging homosexuality (or 
sexuality in general), so, too, dispensing clean needles to IV drug users is 
seen as encouraging drug use. Both homosexuality and drug use, threaten- 
ing in the potential pleasures they represent, are defined as unhealthy, 
counter to the "natural" state of the body. In recent years, this threat has been 
countered with the strident campaigns to "Just say no" — to drugs and sex. 
When AIDS became worthy of presidential attention (i.e., when it became 
acknowledged that white, middle-class heterosexuals were susceptible). 
"Just say no" to sex was added to the "Just say no" to drugs slogan, in an 
effort to mobilize, once again, the all-American virtue of individual initia- 
tive. The frightfully similar policies devised in conjunction with both 
campaigns — the testing of bodily fluids — marks the contradiction at the 
heart of New Right thinking: the rhetoric of a meritocratic social and 
economic system that stresses individualism while concealing an agenda of 
state intervention, control, and surveillance of morality. 

AIDS: Just Say No (1987) is, appropriately enough, the title for an 
educational videotape produced for the New York City public schools and 
distributed across the country. As the most innocent victims in a cruel world, 
the children*s bodies have been the frequent sites lor media exploitation — 
on subjects like child abuse, incest, kiddie porn, child molestation, alcohol, 
drugs, sex, and so on. Community decisions to educate children and 
teenagers about AIDS are accompanied by much hand-wringing and 
eulogizing of lost innocence. Commissioned by the New York Cit> Board 
of Education to produce an educational film on AIDS. ODN Productions, 
a nonprofit educational media production companv . became aware oi Un- 
as they watched their first effort. Sex, Drugs, ami KIDS 1 1986), sit on the 
shelf for six months. At the request of the Board of Education. ODN rc\ ised 
the tape toemphasize abstinence rather than safer sex. The result, AIDS: Just 
Say No. was subsequently approved and put in circulation. The difference 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 




between the two tapes is minimal. Sex, Drugs, and AIDS features three white 
teenage girls stretching in a ballet studio and chatting about birth control, 
sexually transmitted diseases, and AIDS, reaching the conclusion that 
condoms are a preferred method of prevention. AIDS: Just Say No substi- 
tutes a school staircase for the ballet barre. In this version, only one of the 
girls has had sex, the other two state that they're waiting, but the girl who 
is having sex doesn't apologize and has a mature, responsible attitude as 
well as an impressive understanding of birth control, AIDS, and STDs. 

Both ODN videos start off with an MTV-like bang, with a disco beat 
pacing the montage of images that illustrate ways you cannot get AIDS 
(door knobs, swimming pools, shared glasses, etc.) that effectively eases 
most fears about casual transmission. However, both videotapes run into 
problems in the discussion of the ways you can get AIDS. The "host," Rae 
Dawn Chong, fidgets noticeably when she has to say the words "anal sex." 
One wonders why a retake wasn't ordered, or if her body language is meant 
to be a signifier of disapproval, permissible even within a climate of 
tolerance. Not surprisingly, the video never acknowledges or addresses gay 
or lesbian kids. Instead "homosexuality" is mediated through a straight 
man. "I still dunno why guys wanna sleep wit oda guys," says the big lug 
with a heart of gold who has just told the story of how he hated "fags" until 
he realized his brother, who died of AIDS, was one. This featured character 
utters a meek cry for tolerance and a thunderous roar for maintaining gender 
roles and rigid sexual identities, all the while congratulating himself for his 
"sensitivity." 

Whether stretching in ballet class or just rapping in the hallways of USA 
High, the kids in Sew Drugs, and AIDS/AIDS: Just Say No are considerably 
hipper than the squares, who sit docilely behind their desks, hands folded, 
faces scrubbed, and embarrassingly overdressed for what appears to be just 
another biology class in The AIDS Movie ( 1 986), another educational video 
designed for high school students. This tape has the look of Sixty Minutes 
but comes across like one of those outdated hygiene films that evoke so 
much eyeball rolling and giggles among today's image-sophisticated kids. 
A lecture on AIDS provides the structure, interspersed with testimony from 
PWAs who describe their illnesses and make "don't end up like me" pleas. 
In contrast, the verite look used by ODN cleverly presents information in a 
nonauthoritarian manner, and Chong's rap appeals to kids who will trust an 
admired peer — and celebrity — more than a stodgy biology teacher. Still. 
AIDS: Just Say No's appeal, its savvy use of commercial television's 
language, also presents its essential problem: the conventional representa- 
tion of black and Latino teenagers and reinforcement of homophobia. In 
addition, the kids talk to one another with all the friendly, spontaneous 
intimacy of TV sit-coms and tampon commercials, employing the mass 
media's style that claims to reflect real life. Praised widely for speaking to 
kids "in their own Idnzuiuze," AIDS: Just Sav No does no such thina. Rather. 



Todd Coleman, the subject of Tina DeFeliciantonio's 
Living with AIDS, receives a massage from a 
volunteer, one of several whose contributions to 
Coleman's daily life are profiled in the documen- 
tary. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



by speaking to the commercially defined notion of "kids," this tape denies 
participation of actual children and teenagers in the representation of their 
sexualities. 

Though it is, in fact, educational, the Gay Men's Health Crisis' Chance 
of a Lifetime (1986) would never be approved by the Board of Education — 
or, probably, by any government agency. An enthusiastic "yes" to (gay 
men's) sex, this videotape is a curious blend of instruction, pornography, 
and romantic fantasy, all marshalled to eroticize and encourage safer sex 
practices. Structured like conventional porn, Chance of a Lifetime inserts 
safe-sex talk into scenes of pre-sex chit-chat and safe sex demonstrations 
into the sex scenes, blurring these categories and stressing fantasy and 
foreplay over the exchange of body fluids. Couples romantically involved 
get it on and so do strangers, with an emphasis on eliminating risk behavior, 
not dictating moral standards, and the tape wisely avoids confusing safer sex 
with monogamy. While suggestive of post-AIDS pleasures. Chance of a 
Lifetime seems a little confused about exactly what these are. but, then, the 
list of "safe," "possibly safe," and "unsafe" activities has only recently been 
generally agreed upon. 

The tape is most successful when it acknowledges the difficulty of 
adapting to safe sex and to what videomaker John Greyson has wittily 
named ADS: the Acquired Dread of Sex.* In one sequence, a man repeat- 
edly interrupts his dinner with a hot date to telephone a friend who allays his 
escalating fears. The friend, who appears superimposed on the screen in a 
little box. outlines safe-sex practices and tells him there is no reason he can't 
have sex. Chance of a Lifetime should also be commended for refusing to 
address only the worried well. In the third vignette, a man who has tested 
positive for the HIV virus has safer sex with his lover in a radical 
representation and refusal of Anti-Body status. One of the only educational 
videotapes on AIDS interested in salvaging sex, Chance of a Lifetime is, 
however, too ambiguous to be a lesson-plan and at the same time unable to 
generate the raw heat of a good porno flick. Nonetheless, it suggests the 
areas that need exploration and the pleasures that need redefinition. 

□ □ □ 

When Michael Lumpkin, director of the tenth San Fransisco International 
Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, was asked about the festival's films on 
AIDS, he replied that they were " a pleasure," adding, "Many of them show 
ways the crisis is changing people for the better." Along the same lines, the 
San Fransisco Chronicle , in a review of The AIDS Show, said, "In the end 
it poses the only 'solution' [to AIDS] available: to persevere and endure 
through our own best resources of humanity and humaneness." A welcome 
antidote to the homophobic products of network television, including 
Frontline' s AIDS: A Public Inquiry, the response of independent film- and 
videomakers has not exactly been to paste a happy face over the AIDS crisis, 
but much of what has been produced so far does tend to depoliticize it by 
concentrating on the death and suffering that often accompanies AIDS. 

The AIDS Show: Artists Involved with Death and Survival ( 1 986), by 
Peter Adair and Robert Epstein: Living with AIDS (1986). produced and 
directed by Tina DiFeliciantonio; Hero of My Own Life ( 1 986). produced by 
Tom Brook: and Mark Heustis and Wendy Dallas' Chuck Solomon: Coming 
of Age (1986), are, in various degrees, informed by an appealing but still 

* In his new, humorous five-minute videotape. The ADS Epidemic. Greyson produces 
a condensed parody of Death in Venice and a send up of the kinds of public service 
announcements about AIDS that encourage sexual abstinence. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



The political dimension of AIDS is the theme of the 
collectively-produced videotape Testing the Limits, 
which includes statements by a number of repre- 
sentatives of grassroots AIDS organizations. 



problematic "humaneness." The latter three view AIDS through the prism 
of individual experience by focusing on individuals with AIDS: Todd 
Coleman, David Summers, and Chuck Solomon respectively. Scenes of 
daily life are intercut with the reminiscences and testimonies of friends, 
lovers, and health care workers. Each provides a mini-bio: coming out as a 
gay man, family rejection and/or acceptance, and insights gained from 
being close to death. In LivingwithAIDS, Coleman's poor health is evident, 
and his daily routine centers on the prosaic efforts of staying alive. Summers 
and Solomon are shown as active men in reasonably good health, although 
both discuss the on-going battle with various illnesses that they have 
experienced as a result of their weakened immune systems. Each of the three 
men is depicted surrounded by lovers, friends, family, and elaborate 
networks of volunteers from gay and lesbian community organizations. 

Living with AIDS, however, presents the most sensitive relationship 
between the individual and his community, perhaps because the 22-year-old 
Coleman is not as financially well-off or socially established as Solomon 
and Summers and, therefore, more dependent on community services. In 
one eloquent scene a volunteer masseur pays a call, and the viewer realizes 
that many PWAs are often denied human touch. Coleman is also shown 
attending the annual Gay and Lesbian Freedom March with his lover, and 
this, along with footage of an AIDS candlelight vigil, somewhat diffuses the 
emphasis on personal heroism. In Hero of My Own Life Summers also 
stresses his reliance on a network of support groups, but his story is told in 
a more autobiographical fashion, as is Solomon's. Solomon's personal 
history as a playwright in the sixties (Crimes against Nature) and a 
participant in the struggles for gay and lesbian rights is inextricably bound 
to that of the gay and lesbian rights movement. He links events in his own 
life to community events, such as the Stonewall rebellion in 1 969. A number 
of sequences in the film take place at his fortieth birthday party, where 
friends and family gather to say farewell and celebrate a life well-lived, 
rendering a powerful representation of individual and collective strength 
and courage dramatically counter to those of commercial media. 

Unfortunately, because these documentaries are so relentlessly bio- 
graphical, they can only be as informative and engaging as the people they 
spotlight. Treating AIDS as a personal crisis still situates the struggle 
against it in the individual. And the reinvestment of the Anti-Body with 
subjectivity — individuality, emotions, a biography — tends to participate in 
cultural mythologies of individual heroism that also sustain the "Just say 
no" campaigns, locating complex social and political issues within the self. 
The flip-side of blaming the individual is to celebrate him/her for "battling" 
the particular problem. I don't mean to say that there aren't heroes or 
diminish the psychological factors of illness, and I especially do not mean 
to trivialize the personal struggles of people with AIDS and those lovers, 
friends, family, and volunteers that struggle with them. These videotapes 
and films are effective in eliciting a sympathetic identification with the main 
character, an admiration for the courage, humor, and determination exhi- 
bited, and a sense of inspiration. But, by using AIDS as a dramatic catalyst 
in a familiar format of heightened emotion saturated with the rhetoric of 
personal heroism, these videotapes tend to overlook the specifics of AIDS. 
A narration in The AIDS Show reinforces this: "Whenever a catastrophe hits, 
be it a Hood, an earthquake, a plague, initial reaction is to ask. Why here? 
Why us? Often we blame ourselves for a loss that is arbitrary." 

Steven Winn, writing in the San Fransisco Chronicle, began his review 
of The AIDS Show, by calling it a "funny, tender, at times angry — and 
ultimately human — documentary." Although The AIDS Show doesn't 
center on one individual, the tape does, however, concentrate on individual 




responses through a series of skits from the San Francisco Theater Rhino- 
ceros company 's production of the same name, along with commentaries by 
the cast and crew of the show. Well-written and skillfully presented, the 
skits are effective in easing feelings of isolation and despair through humor 
and knowledge. Because the original show was presented in 1984, the tape 
is most informative when it contrasts some of the earlier skits with those 
from an updated, 1985 version. Unfinished Business: The New AIDS Show. 
In the 1984 edition, four men at a pajama party discuss safe sex while 
playing Trivial Pursuit. One man announces he's had hot sex in a jeep the 
night before. His friend teases, "I thought you were Sally Safe-Sex!" "We 
had the emergency brake on" is his friend's campy reply. Unfinished 
Business has a different tone: the same group holds a pajama party reunion, 
but now one of them has AIDS. Safe sex is no longer a joke but de rigeitr. 
"You can still have a good time without exchanging bodily fluids," 
announces one character as a segue into safe sex information. The campy 
humor is still there but AIDS has become a long-term concern. 

Like the first segment of Chance of a Lifetime, The AIDS Show adroitly 
mixes safe sex information with entertainment, using humor to diffuse the 
uncertainty, frustration, and anxiety that accompany sex in the age of AIDS. 
Since part of the project, director Leland Moss explains, was to leave 
audiences "more knowledgeable and less frightened about AIDS," many of 
the pieces are similarly didactic, although a number concentrate on emo- 
tional education rather than health information. Two of the most moving 
sequences are monologues about personal loss. One man speaks to his 
deceased lover, and another speaks to the audience about his friend, Jeffery. 
who died of AIDS: "In this land of free speech the dying are supposed to go 
quietly for the sake of the living. Well. Jeffery shattered the myth of the 
dignified death. He was pissed off and he didn't care who knew. He said, 
'Fuck Death Be Not Proud and Love Story and Brian's Song and Marcus 
Welhy and Bang the Drum Slowly....' He had this voracious self-pity that's 
usually reserved for home owners who've lost their belongings in mud- 
slides." While The AIDS Show is too smart to fall into crass sentimentality, 
it does bear certain resemblances to the litany of heroic death films that this 
monologue parodies. 

The immediate response to AIDS has been fear, anger, despair, and self- 
blame. To put AIDS in the same category as natural disasters, however, 
ignores the specific ways in which AIDS has developed and been concep- 
tualized, the way gay men have been blamed for it, the way it has been cast 
as a "gay disease," the ways that the government has not responded while 
stalling drug testing and refusing to restructure an inadequate health-care 
system. AIDS does indeed highlight the peculiar ways in which our culture 
choses to pretend death doesn't exist, leaving us without a framework for 
understanding and accepting loss. The AIDS Show provides a community 
for mourning and articulates a stubborn refusal to retreat into the closet. 
What it does not provide is a community for organized response to the ways 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 




The recent videotape Testing the Limits features 
scenes from various public political protests by the 
outspoken New York City group AIDS Coalition to 
Unleash Power— ACT UP. 



in which AIDS is an eminently preventable cause of death and the ways in 
which people living with AIDS are not being cured or cared for. 

Bright Eyes ( 1984), produced in Great Britain by Moral Panic produc- 
tions and directed by Stuart Marshall, acknowledges the importance of 
individual activism while refusing to participate in the cult of the individual 
hero. Its last sequence consists of interviews with individuals working with 
a variety of gay and lesbian organizations who speak about a number of 
interrelated topics — AIDS, police harassment and entrapment of gay men 
for "soliciting," and censorship. The interviews have a staged quality, as if 
they "d been rehearsed or scripted. Previously, in diverse dramatic scenes, an 
ensemble of actors recite their lines in deadpan fashion. This blurring of the 
"real" and the "acted" not only blocks emotional identification but resitu- 
ates struggle outside the individual in political-historical terrain. Further- 
more, this method and structure alert the viewer to the problems of 
representation within documentary formats — a carefully constructed, acted 
out, acted upon narrative with questionable claims to "objectivity." 

The first part of the tape examines the construction of Anti-Bodies by 
nineteenth-century science, aided by a newly discovered tool — the camera. 
In the opening scene a doctor explains to a colleague. "Sometimes a 
symptom is invisible, and we need to hunt it out quite aggressively. 
Sometimes a symptom is visible, and we just don't see it. I imagine that is 
what is meant by the expression. 'It was right before my eyes.'" The need 
to see symptoms, to categorize and label people "normal" or "abnormal." 
characterizes the project of science in the latter half of the nineteenth- 
century. The camera, thought to have "no preconceived notions" and 
presenting things to us "as they are," became an accomplice in this project 
which was. according to Marshall, to "identify and isolate social groups and 
describe them as being inherently ill." Photographs that might appear 
innocuous become powerful condemnations when accompanied by the 
captions "Hysteric," "Intermediate Type," "Moral Imbecile." "Homosex- 
ual." 

The need for systems of visual identification led to theories that posited 
an anatomical relation between violent criminals, sexual offenders, and 
skeletal structures. Sexual offenders, in addition to "swollen eyelids and 
lips." usually had "bright eyes." according to one theory of physiognomy. 
Using photographs from contemporary British tabloids. Marshall reveals 
how such representations of disease and deviance have informed the AIDS 
crisis. One headline. "Pictures That Reveal Disturbing Truths About AIDS 
Sickness" contrasts a picture of a handsome, smiling gay man "before" with 
one taken of his face swollen and disfigured "after" AIDS. Bright Eyes' 
second part details some of the methods used by the Nazis to persecute gay 
men. In one dramatic scene a young man is accused of homosexuality on the 
basis of a single piece of "evidence," a snapshot of him and a school chum. 
The processes of identifying and isolating Anti-Bodies, so crucial to the 



Nazi project of racial purity, are revealed to be remarkably similar to those 
proposed today by U.S. governmental officials, public health officials, and 
presidential candidates as a "solution" to AIDS. 

Another video documentary. Testing the Limits { 1987). like Bright Eyes. 
realizes that the battle against AIDS occurs in a political arena. Unlike 
Bright Eyes, though, this tape stirs emotions, although not by eliciting the 
emotional catharses of The AIDS Show or Coming of Age but by effecting 
emotional identification in shared outrage. Produced by Testing the Limits 
Collective members Greg Bordowitz. Sandra Elgear. Robyn Hutt, Hilery 
Kipnis, and David Meieran in New York City "to document emerging forms 
of activism that are arising out of people's responses to government inaction 
regarding the global epidemic of AIDS," the program consists of interviews 
with people working in various AIDS organizations — the Hispanic AIDS 
Forum, the National AIDS Network, the Minority Task Force on AIDS, the 
Institute for the Protection of Gay and Lesbian Youth, among others — 
edited together with scenes from various AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power 
(ACT UP) protests, excerpts from lectures delivered at the June 1987 
Village Voice AIDS Teach-in. and a few safe-sex tips. 

Testing the Limits uses the style of commercial media — skillful camera- 
work and editing, a catchy soundtrack — without becoming reductive or 
reinforcing the ideological assumptions that this style can mask. Covering 
the period from March to August 1 987 and located specifically in New York 
City, the tape not only gives voice to all those generally silenced by 
commercial media — minority groups, gays, lesbians. PWAs, drug users — 
but also addresses them. Ruth Rodriguez of the Hispanic AIDS Forum 
speaks to the Latino community in Spanish, while Barry Gingell. a doctor 
and a PWA, provides information on potentially useful drugs. Community 
Health Project nurse Denise Ribble's safe sex tips are the most imaginative 
and direct I've seen so far. Throughout, analysis meets activism, as when 
Mitchell Karp of the New York City Commission on Human Rights 
observes. "Testing deflects from the real issues which are a modification of 
behavior and protection of civil rights." followed by protesters shouting. 
"Test drugs, not people." 

z- a a 

Now. years after AIDS began striking gay men. AIDS is a hot topic. From 
daily stories in newspapers and magazines to after-school specials, movies 
of the week, nightly news bulletins, scores of new works by independent 
film- and videomakers. and educational videos targeted at every conceiv- 
able audience, there has been a proliferation of information and disinforma- 
tion on AIDS. It is important to recognize the ways in which commercial 
media and its spin-offs refuse to recognize AIDS as anything other than a 
medical crisis threatening the heterosexual, white, middle class or a drama 
of personal struggle in the face cf death, not only providing limited 
information but limiting the potential for the social changes that this crisis 
so dramatically calls for. As Phil Reed, from the Minority Task Force on 
AIDS, said at a protest in Testing the Limits. AIDS will "either kill us or 
politicize us." 

The author thanks Jean Carlomusto and Lee Quinby for assistance in researching this 
article and Carlos Espinoza for the loan of his VCR. 

Timothy Landers is a freelance media critic living. in New York City. 

© Timothy Landers 1988 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



BOOK REVIEW 



HARDWARE WARS 



Fast Forward: 

Hollywood, the Japanese, and the Onslaught of the VCR 

by James Lardner 

New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1987, 

344 pp., $18.95 (cloth) 

Eric Breitbart 

It's hard to believe that a little more than 1 years ago VCRs cost $2,300 and 
were as scarce as Kiwi fruit. How this seemingly innocuous piece of 
electronic hardware became the hottest-selling consumer item of the 1 980s 
and the center of one of the longest (and most expensive) lawsuits in recent 
history is the subject of James Lardner's engrossing book, Fast Forward. 
Lardner. a New Yorker staff writer, has a novelist's gift for detail and 
structure that enables him to shape a tangle of legal, technical, and journal- 
istic information into a fast-paced narrative. While the story of the VCR lacks 
the sex and sleaze of books like Final Cut and Indecent Exposure, it does 
have a compelling cast of characters — Akio Morita, the chairman of Sony; 
Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Association of America; Sidney 
Sheinberg. president of Universal Pictures; Dean Dunlavey, head of Sony's 
legal team; and a shifting chorus of legislators, lobbyists, and interested 
parties — and an importance reaching far beyond the boardrooms of Tokyo 
and Los Angeles. 

In the age of "promiscuous publication" (a phrase of Senator Charles 
Mathias), the VCR has done a lot more than sell machines and videocas- 
settes; it has changed the whole nature of intellectual property and copyright 
in ways that have yet to be felt. To Lardner's credit, he lays out the 
ramifications of the VCR story in the words and actions of the participants — 
he conducted over 200 interviews — so that certain conclusions are 
unavoidable, but he doesn't beat you over the head with them. Some of it is 
funny; other parts of the story may make you want to retch. Particularly 
repugnant is the chapter on the massive lobbying effort of both Hollywood 
and the electronics industry to influence Congress and the White House in 
1 983-84, a campaign described by one congressional aide as "corporate pigs 
versus corporate pigs." The spectacle of movie studios and the Home 
Recorders Association trying to hire Senator Paul Laxalt's daughter and 
brother — both Washington lobbyists — or former commissioners and aides 
is checkbook democracy at its worst. 

Lardner begins the story in September 1976 in the office of Sidney 
Sheinberg, the president of Universal Pictures and MCA. Sheinberg is read- 
ing a draft advertisement for a new product from Sony — the Betamax — 
which will permit viewers to tape a show off the air while watching another 
(the term "time-shifting" had not entered the language). A warning bell goes 
off in Sheinberg's head, and, from there, the story goes forward (to the 
growth of the home video industry, the brutal competition between VHS and 
Beta formats, the various court battles) and backwards (the rise of Sony after 
WWII, the role of copyright in the early days of the movie business), but 
never fails to be entertaining and informative. One reason is Lardner's way 
with words, whether he's discussing the mechanics of azimuth recording, 
relating a comment of the inimitable Jack Valenti, or just telling how you go 
from point A to point B. In a chapter on Andre Blay, one of the pioneers of 
home video, he writes; "To get from downtown Hollywood to the birthplace 
of the prerecorded videocassette business, you head east on the Pomona 
Freeway for about two thousand miles or so until you come to Farmington 
Hills, Michigan. Farmington Hills is a suburb of Detroit, and in the fall ol 
1976 a person had to be about that far from Hollywood to believe that the 




VCR and the movie industry could be something other than mortal ene- 
mies — and to be ready to put his money where his mouth was." Or. on the 
reaction of the movie studios after the Supreme Court decision favoring 
Sony: "Showing the same good judgement as the Argentinian generals who 
decided to put off the reconquest of the Falklands after their defeat by the 
British, Hollywood's generals agreed that 1984 was going to be a bad year 
for the pursuit of a home taping royalty." 

Fast Forward should be of particular interest to independent filmmakers 
for two reasons. First, the VCR has changed the nature of the film and video 
business (and the concept of copyright) for independents as well as the big 
studios, and it behooves us to understand those changes. Second, the wa> 
Lardner has structured his material, dramatizing the mundane, and loosel) 
tying together the disparate threads of his story, is something w e could learn 
from. So far, the book has not been made into a \ ideocassette, so it \\ ill have 
to be read in the SP mode. 



Eric Breitbart is an independent producer and freelance writer. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



FESTIVALS 



PACIFIC PANORAMAS: "EASTERN HORIZONS 
AT THE TORONTO FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS 



// 




Barbara Scharres 



Philippine director Lino Brocka stands at the 
microphone in a sold-out theater at Toronto's 
Festival of Festivals to introduce his 1979 film 
Mother. Sister, Daughter. The tumultuous ap- 
plause makes it clear that he is an old friend — this 
audience would be here whether the film were 
completed eight years ago or yesterday. Brocka is 
known to Filipinos the world over as the director 
of such popular films imbued in the social struggle 
of the Philippines as Jaguar. Bona, and Bay an Ko. 
He is also revered as a political activist whose 
reputation in some circles just about equals saint- 
hood. Although as unknown to most of North 
American audiences as almost all third world film 
directors, one glance around this Toronto theater 
reveals that there are as many white Anglos here 
anxious to see Brocka and his work as there are 
Filipinos. 

This popular reception is necessarily a rare one 
for an Asian film and an Asian director in North 



America, except in the case of those who might be 
called the "brand names" of Asian cinema — 
directors like Akira Kurosawa and Satyajit Ray. 
That an ethnically diverse audience could in time 
come to respond to a Lino Brocka as if he were one 
of the best known names from Hollywood is 
exactly what programmer David Overbey had in 
mind when he assembled the 39-film program 
"Eastern Horizons" for the Festival of Festivals. It 
is the reason that Overbey has introduced Asian 
films to the Toronto audience in increasing num- 
bers, culminating in this year's massive event. 

The films selected for "Eastern Horizons" 
represented Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, the Phil- 
ippines, and Vietnam. Unlike much other festival 
fare, these films were not examples of indepen- 
dent, alternative, or "art" cinema in their home- 
lands, for no such thing exists. Rather, they are the 
products of the popular cinema of each nation, a 
cinema in which familiar genres are very much 
alive and in which there is almost no trace of the 
self-parody and reflexiveness found in western 
films. These were gangster films, comedies. 



Chinese miners in a scene from 

Hou Hsiao Hsien's autobiographical 

film Dust in the Wind, screened at 

the Festival of Festivals. 



melodramas, and ghost stories, directed for the 
most part by proven box office champions and 
featuring the superstars of their respective coun- 
tries. The variety and incredible vitality of the 
films made "Eastern Horizons" an unqualified 
success in terms of attracting publicity and large 
audiences, especially drawing from Toronto's 
sizeable Chinese, Korean, and Filipino communi- 
ties. However, this event's particular success 
consisted in attracting non-Asian film goers to 
Asian films in unprecedented numbers and calls 
into question some of the practices and precon- 
ceptions surrounding the exhibition of Asian 
films, not only in North America, but in the 
western world in general. 

Aside from urging the Festival of Festivals 
toward a major commitment to Asian cinema. 
David Overbey has for years been involved in 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



other efforts to make wider distribution and exhi- 
bition of Asian films in the west possible, both in 
North America and in Europe. Distribution of 
these films is almost nonexistent and exhibition is 
limited to specialty venues. Films from Hong 
Kong and Taiwan are regularly shown in the 
Chinese theaters of major cities, but these seldom 
draw patrons from outside their immediate com- 
munities, nor do they make the attempt, although 
prints are often subtitled in English. By the same 
token, many members of the Asian-American 
audience do not seek films outside their own 
communities. The Festival of Festivals developed 
a crossover audience in both directions this year as 
a result of "Eastern Horizons," achieving for the 
first time a noticeable racial and ethnic mix in 
festival audiences across the board. Overbey has 
hopes that the trend could have some staying 
power and that, for instance, Anglo patrons start 
trickling into some of Toronto's eight Chinese 
theaters, their appetites whetted by their festival 
experiences with films like A BetterTomorrow or 
the hilarious Peking Opera Blues. 

In addition to festivals, museums and art cen- 
ters are the other North American non-Asian 
exhibitors of Asian films — venues in which films 
are rarely screened more than once or twice and 
have less opportunity to build an audience 
through publicity and word-of-mouth. Almost all 
films from Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong 
Kong, and Vietnam do not have American or 
European distributors, and it would not seem that 
they will show up at art house theaters in the fore- 
seeable future, no matter how well received they 
are by festival audiences. 

David Overbey gives some background on this 
dilemma: 

Some years ago I went around to all the distributors I 
know, and I know a lot of them, and suggested that 1 put 
together 10 to 12 Asian films — Filipino, Hong Kong, 
Taiwan. Thai — and that they buy this package for less 
than it would cost to buy one French, German, or Italian 
film. Out of this group of films one was bound to make 
money, thereby paying for the rest. I got some very 
reasonable refusals. They pointed out. quite rightly, that 
it would cost as much to launch a Filipino film as a 
French film, and that the French film was more or less 
a sure thing if they didn't spend too much and chose the 
right film, which is reasonable enough. Finally, one 
distributor said. "You're not going to sell this package 
anywhere no matter what it costs, because we're not 
ever going to be able to sell brown and yellow faces on 
the screen in North America." Now. 1 don't know where 
this racism starts, whether it's out on the street and he's 
right that people will not come, or it's that he sees 
racism where none exists, so it's a racism on the level 
of distribution. One of the things I wanted to do at the 
Festival of Festivals was demonstrate that people will 
come, will enjoy — that there's no problem. Also, I 
thought it would be nice to show distributors that a 
white audience could sit through something like Peking 
Opera Blues and jusi love it. I'm still convinced that all 
you have to do is get them into the cinema, and once you 
do they're going to love it and tell their friends. 

So far no distributors have taken notice, and the 
state of things remains as it has been, with films 



being funnelled to the west through the efforts of 
a few interested individuals, mostly festival pro- 
grammers. Lino Brocka jokingly remarks that the 
Asians are at the mercy of the white men, although 
he hastens to add that directors like himself are 
extremely grateful for the exposure of their work 
through festivals and for the opportunity this has 
afforded to develop a western audience, even a 
limited western audience. From an Asian point of 
view the problem is compounded by a number of 
other circumstances. Brocka points out that Phil- 
ippine producers, for instance, have no interest in 
markets outside the Philippines if it means they 
have to pay for subtitling or assume even the 
slightest financial risk. This is largely true in other 
Asian countries as well. Philippine producers who 
go to Cannes bring only exploitation films and 
soft-porn for a quick sale. Neither is there a 
government agency actively promoting Philip- 
pine films to festivals and foreign theaters, al- 
though this absence has underlying political 
causes, since the films of greatest interest in the 
west are those like Brocka's, which dwell expli- 
citly on social and economic issues and are there- 
fore acts of dissent . 

The Festival of Festivals provided an impor- 
tant forum for many of the Asian directors to meet 
and see each other's work for the first time. 
Surprisingly, there exists almost no exchange of 
films among various Asian cultures. A Korean 
film would never show in the Philippines and vice 
versa. Kung Fu films from Hong Kong are seen 
everywhere, but other examples of Hong Kong 
cinema are unknown in the surrounding Asian- 
Pacific nations. Overbey says, "If you go to the 
south part of Taiwan on a clear day and stand 
looking south you see this black lump. That's the 
Philippines 40 miles away, yet for some reason 
the films never cross that little piece of water." 

The films that made up "Eastern Horizons" 
were familiar to western eyes in unexpected ways. 
Asian cinema takes genres absolutely seriously — 
some of the same genres that once prevailed in 
Hollywood. The romanticism, emotion, and for- 
mulaic construction of these films can be easy to 
relate to. Many of the films offered amazing 
cathartic experiences and the possibility of re- 
learning to appreciate a form like melodrama, for 
instance, which western audiences have lost the 
capacity to treat as anything but parody since it 
faded from our cinematic tradition. One of the 
most enjoyable aspects of viewing these films was 
appreciating them as exceedingly skillful popular 
entertainments in which film artists, some of them 
very great ones, have worked with the pressures 
and limitations of a commercial industry to make 
works which of necessity appeal to a tremen- 
dously large audience. Formula is not a dirty word 
to these directors, and, if their audiences have 
certain formal and thematic expectations, the 
films attest to their skill in making well-worn 
themes and forms live as if newly invented for 
each film. 

By far the earliest title included in "Eastern 
Horizons" was the 1959 Philippine Vilm Blessings 



of the Land, by Manuel Silos. A simple and 
affecting story, it follows a rural couple from their 
wedding day through the birth and growth of their 
children, paralleling the growth of the lanzone 
orchard they plant which will only bear its valu- 
able crop in 20 years' time. The film eases into the 
story with an extended and joyous musical se- 
quence of the wedding day but then proceeds with 
a realism surprising for its time. This film had a 
profound influence on the work of Lino Brocka 
and the younger directors he influenced in turn. 
Mel Chionglo's Playgirl and Mario O'Hara's 
Flower in the City Jail show a similar high regard 
for the realism of social conditions while their 
films move in a more melodramatic direction to 
function as star vehicles for mightily suffering 
heroines. 

Portraits of women, particularly suffering 
women, are a staple of Asian Films. Two Tai- 
wanese Films, Wan Jen's Ah Fei and Chang Yi's 
Kuei-mei, A Woman, each deal with the life of a 
woman making the best of her marriage of expe- 
diency. In the first case it's an arranged marriage, 
in the second, the practical choice of an old maid 
who marries a widower with children. Ah Fei is a 
terrific expression of the lyricism of family pain 
which Asian audiences seemingly relish. Its de- 
piction of a father-daughter relationship and the 
agonies suffered is purely delirious. 

Among the most powerful films in the festival 
were The Time to Live and the Time to Die and 
Dust in the Wind, by Taiwanese director Hou 
Hsiao-hsien. Gentle, quiet, and profoundly mov- 
ing, these substantially autobiographical films 
each portray the life of a boy growing up in 
Taiwan after his family has emigrated from the 
mainland. Hsiao-hsien's work is characterized by 
long takes and an unerring method for reproduc- 
ing the emotional currents of family life with a 
clear-eyed realism that precludes sentimentality. 
He is one of the first directors to explore the theme 
of loss and the ambivalence about life in Taiwan 
that shaped many of his generation. 

Meanwhile, Tony Au's Dream Lovers looked 
like a metaphor for the imminent reunion of Hong 
Kong and mainland China. A ghost story, one of 
Hong Kong's most popular genres, it brings to- 
gether a reincarnated couple who discover each 
other in the twentieth century after 2.000 years 
apart. This flashy film has something for every- 
one — special effects, explicit sex, a tragic love 
triangle, plus historical flashbacks combined with 
a few history lessons involving archaeological 
finds. 

Hong Kong has the most technically advanced 
film industry among the Asian nations, and the 
films made there are often unbelievably kinetic 
and extravagantly entertaining. A prime example 
shown at the festival was Tsui Hark's Peking 
Opera Blues. With a colorful plot that w ouldn't be 
out of place in a. spaghetti western, the film moves 
at a madcap pace, lull o( crazy chases, violence, 
macabre humor, and thousands of sight gags. John 
Woo's gangster film. A Beltei Tomorrow, an 
astonishing org) oi bloodshed, relics equally on 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 




Kuei-Mei, A Woman, by 
Chang Yi, was pro- 
grammed as a part of 
the "Eastern Horizons" 
program at the Toronto 
festival. 



action but is a dark, poetically violent vision, with 
homoerotic overtones of brotherly conflict and 
power struggles in Hong Kong's underworld. A' 
BetterTomorrowholds the Hong Kong box office 
record, perhaps the best evidence that Woo has 
succeeded in merging his artistic and commercial 
concerns. Ann Hui. known on the festival circuit 
in the west for The Spooky Bunch and the 
controversial Boat People, also turns to action in 
a major way with her brand new three-hour epic 
The Romance of Book and Sword. Turning the 
historical drama of a much-filmed novel into a 
spectacle of lightning-fast martial arts sequences 
and chaotic battles, spiced with the occasional 
romantic interlude and even a musical number. 
Hui would seem a force to be reckoned with in the 
industry in the future. 

Sexual matters comprise the subtext in a num- 
ber of Korean films in a way that can be startling 
to westerners, for prostitution, rape, and debase- 
ment of women are depicted frequently, although 
it must be mentioned that these things are by no 
means absent from other Asian films. Kim Yi's 
Fire Women Village was the most problematic in 
this regard, using low comedy surrounding 
graphic sexual activity and a savage rape as the 
window dressing for a more serious treatment of 
a friendship's betrayal. David Overbey points out 
that Korean films often use sexuality in a context 
where problems of class difference are dealt with, 
as in Im Kwon Taek's Surrogate Mother or his 
Ticket, which portrays life in a brothel. 

"Eastern Horizons" included only one film 
from Vietnam. Ho Quang Minh's Karma. This 
film is the first indication of an indigenous post- 



war Vietnamese film industry seen in the west and 
, is, significantly, an anti-war story. It's a sure bet 
that Karma won't be the last film of this emerging 
cinema to be seen at the Festival of Festivals. The 
nagging fear felt by the festival administration 
that "Eastern Horizons" might not find an audi- 
ence after all turned to relief with the mobbed 
premiere of the very first film. Overbey says, "In 
terms of the festival and my future. I can now book 
Asian films like a madman." adding. "The day 
that Hong Kong and Filipino films open regularly 
at your local cinema is the day I move on to 
something else." 

Barbara Scharres is the associate director of the 
Film Center at the School of the Art Institute of 
Chicago and a freelance film critic and film- 
maker. 

IN BRIEF 

This month's festivals have been com- 
piled by Kathryn Bowser. Listings do 
not constitute an endorsement & 
since some details change faster than 
we do. we recommend that you con- 
tact the festival for further information 
before sending prints or tapes. If your 

'■■ experience differs from our account, 
please let us know so we can improve 

j our reliability. 

DOMESTIC 

Ann Arbor Film Festival. March. Michigan. Wide 
ranae of films screened at this "loosely structured" 



event, which, to cover diverse styles of ind. & avant- 
garde filmmakers, has no cats, guidelines or require- 
ments for entries. Fest's 26th yr. Docs, animation, 
experimental, shorts & small features incl. & awards 
totalling S5.000 presented. "Best of fest goes on nat'l 
tour to colleges & exhibition spaces, w/ 2/3 income 
going to participating filmmakers. Format: 16mm. 
Deadline: Feb. 19. Contact: Ann Arbor Film Festival. 
Box 8232. Ann Arbor. MI 48107: (313) 995-5356. 

Athens International Film Festival. April 29-May 
7. Ohio. W/ established reputation as showcase for ind. 
films, fest, now in 16th yr. features competition, 
premieres, guest workshops & retros. Yearly themes 
guide programming: last yr was "3rd World Perspec- 
tives.'" Several filmmakers attend as fest guests. Com- 
petitive cats incl. feature, experimental, animation, 
narrative, doc, educational, 100' film, young media 
artist (under 1 8 yrs) & super 8. Prizes totalling S2000 go 
to top 5 films. Work must have been completed after 
Jan. 1. 1987. Formats: 35mm. 16mm. super 8: preview 
on 3/4". 1/2". Entry fees: S20. under 15 min.: S30, 15- 
50 min.: S50. over 50 min.: SI 5. young media artists & 
super 8. Deadline: Mar. 7. Contact: Ruth Bradley, 
director, Athens Internationa] Film Festival. Box 388, 
Athens. OH 45701 or Rm. 366 Lindley Hall. Ohio 
University. Athens. OH 45701: (614) 593-1330. 

Atlanta Film & Video Festival. May 22-28. Georgia. 
12th edition of fest for ind. films & videos held in 
conjunction w/ 1988 Nat'l Alliance of Media Arts 
Centers (NAMAC) conference in Atlanta. Fest inten- 
tion is to "showcase exciting new media works that go 
far beyond Hollywood & television in both form & 
content." Creative & technical awards of $5000 in cash 
& equipment go to winners in film or video cats of 
dramatic, experimental & animation: no sponsored, 
industrial, training, or commercial films accepted. This 
yr's judges: SWAMP program director Marion Luntz. 
filmmaker Tony Buba. videomaker & photographer 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



Paul Wong & video artist Ann Bray. Over 225 entries 
submitted last yr & 27 films & videos screened. Spon- 
sored by IMAGE Film & Video Center in assoc. w/ 
High Museum of Art. Formats: 16mm, super 8, 3/4", 
1/2", Beta. Entry fees: $25 (filmmaker): $40 (distribu- 
tor). Deadline: Feb. 1 2. Contact: IMAGE Film & Video 
Center, 75 Bennett. M 1 , Atlanta. GA 30309: (404) 352- 
4225. 

Birmingham International Educational Film Festi- 
val. March 26-April 9, Alabama. Nontheatrical educa- 
tional works by ind.. commercial & student producers 
eligible for awards in 13 cats, incl. Americana, applied 
& performing arts, teacher & career education, health & 
physical education, business & industry, human rela- 
tions, early childhood, language arts, math/science, 
student prod., social sciences, aging, energy & environ- 
ment. Awards are "Electra" statuettes, w/ cash prizes 
ranging from $200 (best of cat) - $1000 (best of fest); 
finalists receive certificates of recognition. Judging 
panels composed of volunteer preview committees of 
teachers, writers, students & subject specialists: final- 
ists submitted to panel of nat'l judges for award selec- 
tion. Entries must be under 60 mins., released between 
Jan. 1 986 & Jan. 1988. Entry fees: Before Jan. 20— $25 
(0-30 min.), $40 (31-60 min.). $15 student. After Jan. 
20— $30 (0-30 min.). $50 (31-60 min.). $20 student. 
Competition in additional cats: $IO/cat. Fest's 16th yr. 
Deadline: Feb. 1. Contact: Birmingham International 
Film Festival. 2100 Park PI., Birmingham, AL 35203; 
(205) 226-3655. 

Daniel Wadsworth Memorial Video Festival, 
April 29-May 13. Sponsored by Real Art Ways, re- 
gional media center supporting new art. video fest seeks 
ind. personal, experimental, introspective works of all 
cats, under 30 min. Prizes go to 6 winners: grand prize 
of $300 plus $200 purchase award, 2nd prize of $200 
plus $200 purchase award, 4 show prizes of $100 each. 
Videos must have been completed in previous yr. Over 
100 entries received last yr. Formats: 3/4" (preferred); 
1/2". No fee. entrant pays $4 return shipping. Deadline: 
Mar. 1. Contact: Victor Velt, video curator. Real Art 
Ways. Box 3313. Hartford CT 06103-0313. 

Exit Art First International Super 8 Festival. May 
10-21, New York. All cats super 8. Jury: Larry Kardish, 
John Hanhardt. Jonas Mekas. Entry fee: $15. Deadline: 
Mar. 18. Contact: Exit Art, 578 Broadway, New York, 
NY 10012; (212)966-7745. 

Houston International Film Festival. April 22- 
May 1 , Texas. 10th annual competition offers awards, 
grants, & recognition in 6 cats: feature, short, documen- 
tary, TV commercials, experimental & TV production; 
over 100 sub-cats incl. screenplays, 1st feature, local 
TV news, ecology, student, in-house, low-budget, 
computer-generated. This yr's fest will honor animator 
Chuck Jones. Last yr over 70 features, several of them 
world premieres & 200 shorts, documentaries & TV 
productions were screened out of a total of 2,100 
entries. Entry fees: $35-150. Formats: 35mm. 16mm. 
3/4". 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 15. Contact: Houston Inter- 
national Film Festival, Box 56566. Houston, TX 
77256; (713)965-9955. 

Howard University School oe Communications Au- 
dio. Film & Video Festival & Competition. February 
18-20. Washington. D.C. Held during Howard Univ.'s 
miniconference & job fair on "Minorities & Communi- 
cations: A Preview of the Future." competition open to 
both professional & student film & video producers. 
Entries on any topic, preferably related to conference 
theme; features, docs, animated & experimental works 



completed in last 2 yrs accepted. Shorts under 30 min., 
features under 90 min. Prizes of $300 to winning 
professional entry; $100 to winning student entry. 
Format: 16mm, super 8, 3/4". Deadline: Jan. 8. Contact: 
Henry Bourgeois, Dept. of Radio, TV & Film, School 
of Communications, Howard University, Washington, 
D.C. 20059; (202) 636-7927. 

Humboldt Film & Video Festival. May, California. 
One of oldest U.S. student-run fests, now in 21st yr, for 
experimental, narrative, doc & animated works. 
Awards total $1800; judged this yr by Dean C. Finley, 
Len Kirby & Ann-Sargent Wooster. Reel Solutions 
Peace Award to film best depicting creative peacemak- 
ing. Entries must be under 60 min. Entry fee: $25. 
Formats: 16mm, super 8, 3/4". 1/2". Deadline: Feb. 22. 
Contact: Humboldt Film & Video Festival, Dept. of 
Theatre Arts, Humboldt State University, Areata, CA 
95521; (707) 826-3566. 

John Muir Medical Film Festival. June 1 8-25, Cali- 
fornia. 7th biennial int'l competition for films & videos 
on latest trends in medical, health-related & biomedical 
science subjects of importance to health care workers & 
consumers. Awards offered in over 40 cats, incl. such 
areas as aging, community health, contemporary is- 
sues, human sexuality, special people. AIDS, death & 
dying, ethics, drugs & society, women's health, genet- 
ics & patient education. Entries judged by more than 
200 Bay Area medical professionals over 3 mo. period; 
over 400 received in 1986 edition. Awards incl. 1st & 
2nd place, plus special awards for films w/ humanitar- 
ian & ethical importance; public health education 
(sponsored by European fest which honors technical 
medical films) & most innovative educational commu- 
nication. 20.000 copies of fest catalog distributed 
nat'ly. Entries must have been completed in 2 previous 
yrs. Format: 16mm, 1/2", 35mm slide/tape programs, 
interactive video. Deadline: Jan. 31. Contact: Chip 
Bissell. fest director. John Muir Medical Center, 1601 
Ygnacio Valley Rd.. Walnut Creek. CA 94598; (415) 
947-5303. 

New England Film Festival. April. Massachusetts. 
Open to ind. & student filmmakers residing or attending 
school in ME. CT. RI. NH, MA & VT, fest presented by 
Arts Extension Service & Boston Film/Video Founda- 
tion & sponsored by the Boston Globe. Cash, film 
materials & services valued at over $5000 awarded: 
Globe sponsors $3000 best of fest award. Works must 
be under 60 mins. Winning films screened at Berklee 
Performance Center in Boston. Entry fees: $25, $15 
(students). Formats: 16mm, super 8. Deadline: Feb. 1. 
Contact: Arts Extension Service, Division of Continu- 
ing Education, Goodell Bldg., University of Massachu- 
setts. Amherst. MA 01003; (413) 545-2360. 

Newark Black Film Festival, June, New Jersey. In- 
dependent films which reflect black life, history & cul- 
ture, eligible to compete for Paul Robeson Awards in 4 
cats: doc. long narrative, short narrative & experimen- 
tal. Screenings of selected films take place over 6 
summer wks. Format: 16mm. 3/4". Deadline: Feb. 1. 
Contact: Robert Manuel. Newark Museum. 49 Wash- 
ington St.. Box 540, Newark, NJ 07101; (201) 596- 
6637. 

Retirement Research Foundation National Media 
Owl Awards. May. Illinois. Outstanding films which 
creatively depict issues relating to aging, "capturing 
authentic images of older persons & illuminating the 
challenge & the promise of an aging society." eligible 
for competition in 4 cats: ind. films & videos; TV & 
theatrical film fiction; TV nonfiction iV training films & 




r\ 



r\rT 



Published continually since 1967, 
Cineaste is today internationally rec- 
ognized as America's leading maga- 
zine on the art and politics of the 
cinema. "A trenchant, eternally 
zestful magazine," says the Interna- 
tional Film Guide, "in the forefront 
of American film periodicals. 
Cineaste always has something 
worth reading, and it permits its 
writers more space to develop ideas 
than most magazines." 

Published quarterly, Cineaste 
covers the entire world of cinema — 
including Hollywood, the indepen- 
dents, Europe, and the Third World 
— with exclusive interviews, lively 
articles, and in-depth reviews. Sub- 
scribe now, or send $2 for a sample 
copy, and see what you've been 
missing! 

$13 ($19 foreign) for 4 issues 

Cineaste 

P.O. Box 2242 
New York, NY 10009 



Make your next video shoot 
as happy as this one. 




Call 

Kin^fish 

s BETACAM production package with van 
.^ Award-winning: producers 

^BETACAM to %" or VHS dubbing with 

time code and window dub 

i^%" to %" time code editing with 
Sony .".Soils 

^Excruciatingly low rates! 

^Convenient SoHo location 

For a good time call And\ or Louis at 

(212)9258448 

KIXGflSJI u I H ii r in mi i TIIIXS sun in IIOPSHOP 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



videos. Cash prizes totalling $30,000, ranging from 
$500 to $3000 & owl statuettes & plaques awarded to 
1st & 2nd place & honorable mention winners in each 
cat. Extensive media coverage. Retirement Research 
Foundation is private philanthropy which funds re- 
search, development & evaluation of programs for the 
elderly. Awards administered by Chicago's Center for 
New Television. Entries must have been produced in 
the US & released or initially broadcast or cablecast in 
1987. Deadline: Feb. 1. Contact: Chris Straayer, project 
director. Center for New Television, 912 S. Wabash, 
Chicago, IL 60605: (312) 427-5446. 

San Francisco Art Institute Film Festival, March 
25-26, California. 10th anniversary of test geared 
toward new experimental, art-oriented & artist-made 
films. Entries must be under 35 mins. Over $1500 in 
cash & service prizes awarded by jury which this yr incl. 
NY filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh & MoMA's Larry Kar- 
dish. Formats: 16mm, super 8. Entry fee: $20 (US), $25 
(int'l). Deadline: Feb. 6. Contact: Michael Rothman, 
director, San Francisco Art Institute Film Festival, 800 
Chestnut St., San Francisco. CA 94133; (415) 771- 
7020. 

Sliperfest International Media Festival on Dis- 
ability Issues. May, California. Annual competition 
leading to public TV package, for films & videos which 
"accurately reflect the daily experience & abilities" of 
disabled persons. Awards for merit, presentation & best 
of fest in cats incl.: entries produced, written, ordirected 
by persons w/ disabilities, developmental disabilities, 
arts & disabilities, employment, children, mental ill- 
ness. Works previewed by committees throughout 
country. Sponsored by Corporation on Disabilities & 
Telecommunication. Entry fees: $45 professional, $25 
amateur, $100 TV & feature. Format: 16mm, 1/2". 
Deadline: Jan. 15. Contact: Don Lake, Div. of Instruc- 
tional Media & Information Systems, Los Angeles 
County Office of Education, 9300 E. Imperial Hwy, 
Downey, CA 90242-2890; (213)922-6107. 

United States Industrial Film Festival, June, Illi- 
nois. 21st annual competition exclusively for industrial 
& sponsored films produced for industry, associations, 
gov't, religious, charitable or educational orgs in such 
cats as advertising, employee communications, fun- 
draising, industrial processes, public relations, training 
& medicine. Entries must have been produced in previ- 
ous yr. Awards include Gold Camera Awards & Silver 
Screen Awards. Formats: 16mm, 3/4". Entry fee: $100. 
Deadline: Mar. 1. Contact: J.W. Anderson, chair. 
United States Festivals Association, 841 N. Addison 
Ave.. Elmhurst, IL 60126: (312) 834-7773. 

USA Film Festival. April 21-26, Texas. W/ special 
emphasis on US ind. films, 18th yrof fest will incl. 10th 
annual short film & video competition. Programmers 
seek to present world, nat'l& regional premieres of new 
work. Entries for competition must be under 60 min. & 
will be judged in narrative, nonfiction, animation, ex- 
perimental & performance (dance, music, etc.) cats, 
each w/ $1000 1st place award. Grand prize winner 
invited to fest's award ceremony. Narrative & nonfic- 
tion features over 60 min. programmed by director, who 
will also program short films not in competition as part 
of fest's main program. Other program sections include 
great director tribute & music in film. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm. 3/4". 1/2". Beta. Fee: $35. Deadline: Mar. 1 
(short film & video competition); Mar. 4 (feature 
films). Contact: Richard Peterson, artistic director. 
USA Film Festival, 2909-B Canton St., Dallas, TX 
75226; (214)744-5400. 



Wine Country Film Festival. July 8-16, California. 
2nd annual int'l showcase for new films programmed 
w/in 4 series: American Independents, Arts in Film 
(dance, music, painting, sculpture, filmmaking), Int'l 
Series & Films from Commitment (reflecting sense of 
personal & social responsibility). Some filmmakers 
invited to attend w/ films. Seminars & special programs 
honoring filmmakers, actors & contributors also fea- 
tured, as well as other events centered around wine 
tasting. Fest presents award to film or distribution 
"company of the year." Format: 35mm, 16mm. Dead- 
line: Mar. 1. Contact: Stephen Ashton, creative direc- 
tor, Wine Country Film Festival, Box 303, Glen Ellen, 
CA 95442; (707) 996-2536. 



FOREIGN 

British Industrial Film & Video Festival. June, Eng- 
land. Accepts films & videos in several cats, incl. 
education, training, safety, public welfare & social 
questions, technical, scientific, sales, public relations, 
ecology & environment & recreation. Films shown in 
London showcase & again at screening & awards pres- 
entation in Bristol. Awards are gold, silver & bronze 
statuettes. Entry fees: £110 per category plus VAT. 
Deadline: Jan. 24. Contact: British Industrial & Scien- 
tific Film Association, 102 Great Russell St., London 
WC1E 3LN, England; tel: (01 ) 580-0962. 

Brussels International Festival of Fantastic & 
Science Fiction Film, March 1 1-26, Belgium. 6th an- 
nual feature film competition awards science fiction, 
horror & thriller films w/ Grand Prix "The Raven" 
(sculpture) & 2 special jury prizes (paintings); about 50 
films shown annually. Program also incl. competition 
of European short films, contest for fantastic makeup & 
other special events. Audiences estimated at 35,000. 
Accommodation & expenditures (not airfare) covered 
for participating filmmakers. Deadline: Jan. 15. Con- 
tact: Freddy Bozzo. Peymey Diffusion A.S.B.L., 144 
Ave.de la Reine. B- 12 10 Brussels. Belgium; tel: 32 02 
2421713; telex 61344 CONTAC B (ext. 113). 

Golden Rose of Montreux Television Festival. 
May 1 1-18, Switzerland. 28th yr of fest for light enter- 
tainment TV programs (music, comedy, variety), held 
at Palais des Congres in Montreux. Official network 
competition open to TV orgs; ind. producer competi- 
tion (initiated in 1984) open to independently produced 
entries & will have own jury. Awards incl. Golden Rose 
of Montreux (w/ 10,000 Swiss francs). Silver Rose & 
Bronze Rose. Fest attended by over 750 TV execs & 
journalists from over 35 countries; about 40 network & 
50 ind. entries compete. Must have been completed in 
14 months prior to fest. Deadline: Mar.l (ind. produc- 
ers); Mar. 31 (network). Contact: John E. Nathan, N. 
American representative, 509 Madison Ave., Suite 
1810, New York, NY 10022; (212) 223-0044. 

Melbourne International Film Festival. June. Aus- 
tralia. Running in tandem w/ Sydney Film Festival & 
sharing many films, fest, entering 37th yr, programs 
features, docs & shorts. Its int'l short film competition, 
now in 27th yr, accepts shorts less than 60 min.. or short 
fiction films less than 30 min.. vying for $12,000 in 
prizes: $4000 grand prix, $1500 ea. special award to 
doc, fiction, animation & experimental, plus other 
awards & certificates. Feature section noncompetitive. 
Sidebars incl. program of children's films (for ages 5- 
17), retrospective, video art, experimental super 8 & 
seminars. Fest in triplex w/ over 1800 seats, plus 



smaller theater nearby; audience size estimated at 
35,000. Most Australian buyers & distributors attend 
Sydney &/or Melbourne. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 
super 8, 3/4", 1/2"; 3/4" & 1/2" for preview. Deadline: 
Mar. 1. Contact: Melbourne International Film Festi- 
val, 41-45 A'Beckett St., Melbourne Victoria 3000, 
Australia; tel: (03) 663-1395/663-2954; telex: 152613 
FIFEST. 

MONTBELIARD INTERNATIONAL VlDEO & TELEVISION 

Festival, October 3-9, France. Organized by Centre 
d'Action Culturelle de Montbeliard, biennial fest 
marks 4th anniversary as major int'l venue for doc & 
fiction videos. Features int'l competition for video 
works, competition for TV programs, market, exhibi- 
tions & programs from video training schools & art 
centers worldwide. Over 20 countries & 600 programs 
participated in past fests. Int'l competition prizes incl. 
100,000 FF grand prix, 50,000FF 1st prizes to recher- 
che formelle, doc & educational videos; 50.000FF to 
best school production. During 1986 fest, which fos- 
tered debate on questions of cultural identity, politics & 
media & state of ind. production, POINT 87, a fest/ 
conference, organized to further discuss future & or- 
ganize association of ind. European producers. Dead- 
line: Feb. 15 (int'l competition), Mar. 15 all other 
sections (competition of TV programs, video schools, 
exhibitions). Contact: Michel Bongiovanni. Montbe- 
liard TV. Centre d'Action Culturelle, BP 236, 25204 
Montbeliard Cedex, France; tel: 81 91 37 1 1/81 91 49 
67; telex: RCINF B202139F ATTN DF 18. 

Piccadilly Film & Video Festival, June, England. 5th 
yr for noncompetitive London showcase, which last yr 
had theme of "Living Dangerously" & featured sellouts 
of London premieres, radical videos & retrospectives. 
Contact: Kate Leys, programmer, Piccadilly Film & 
Video Festival, 197 Piccadilly, London W1V 9LF, 
England; tel: (01)381-6398. 

Strasbourg International Film Festival 
of Human Rights. March, France. Presents films w/ 
themes of human dignity & human rights in multicultu- 
ral world; films which condemn violations of basic 
human rights according to Universal Declaration of 
Human Rights. Competitive section incl. French pre- 
mieres of new films; retro programs films that treat 
social, historical, humane situation from documented 
point of view. This is fest's 16th yr. Doc & narrative 
films "Of all lengths accepted; top prize of 20.000FF & 
25.000FF prizes awarded. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 
Deadline: Feb. 20. Contact: Institut International des 
Droits de l'Homme. 1, Quai Lezay-Marnesia, 67000 
Strasbourg. France; tel: 88 35 05 50. 

Taormina International Film Festival. July. Italy. 
Fest incl. "American Film Week" which emphasizes 
major studio releases on verge of Italian release; films 
in competition for gold, silver & bronze "Charybdis" 
awards last yr from all continents, incl. several 3rd 
world countries. Competition section is particularly 
interested in new directors of 1st & 2nd features. Fest 
now entering 34th yr. If new venue at Festival & 
Convention Palace in Taormina's main square com- 
pleted this yr, fest will be held in winter, w/ American 
Film Week remaining in midsummer. Contact: Mario 
Natale/Sandro Anastasi, Festival delle Nazione 
Taormina, Ente Provinciale per il Turismo. Via Cal- 
abria, isol 346, 98100 Messina, Italy; tel: (396) 360 84 
30. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



TC 



E ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 



• Comprehensive health, disability and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

■ The Festival Bureau: your inside track to international and domestic film and video festivals 

■ Advocacy: lobbying in Washington and throughout the country to promote the interests of independent producers 

• Access to funding, distribution, technical and programming information 

■ Professional seminars and screenings 

■ Discounts on publications, car rentals and production services 

AND 

A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film & Video Monthly, the only national film and video' magazine tailored 
to your needs (10 issues per year) 





There's strength in numbers. 



J 



oin AJVF Today, and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

□ S35/year individual 

D (Add $10.00 for first-class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT.) 

□ $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID) 

□ $50/year library (subscription only) 

□ $75/year organization 

□ $45/year foreign (outside the US ) 



Na 



Address 



City_ 



State_ 



Country (if outside US)_ 
Telephone 



Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 



CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independent's Classifieds col- 
umn includes all listings for "Buy • 
Rent • Sell," "Freelancers" & "Post- 
production" categories. It is re- 
stricted to members only. Each entry 
has a 250 character limit & costs $15 
per issue. Ads exceeding this length 
will be edited. Payment must be 
made at the time of submission. 
Anyone wishing to run a classified ad 
more than once must pay for each 
insertion & indicate the number of 
insertions on the submitted copy. 
Each classified ad must be typed, 
double-spaced & worded exactly 
as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of each 
month , two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., January 8 for the March 
issue. Make check or money order- 
no cash, please— payable to FIVF, 
625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, 
NY 10012. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 

For Rent: Office space available. Ideal for indepen- 
dents. Pleasant atmosphere at a convenient downtown 
location. Affordable rates, with telephone, receptionist 
& other amenities. Contact Thorn (212) 777-6900. 

For Sale: SQN-3. Type M, mixer w/ output cables, 
case, power supply, $1,450. Bose 802 speakers w/ 
equalizer, stands, cables, $950. Carver 1.5t amp (350/ 
w/ch), $625. Package, $1,500. Call L. Loewinger (212) 
226-2429. 

For Sale. Sonosax SX-S, 8 channel mixer. Modified 
for increased gain & faster acting limiters. Shipping 
case, power supply/Ni-Cad charger, many intercon- 
nect, cables, $7,500. Shure M-67 mixer, $50. Call L. 
Loewinger (212) 226-2429. 

For Sale: LTM fishpole. 14', $200. Electro-Voice 368 
windscreen (football), $75. Magnasync studio tape 
degausser (heavy duty), $75. 5 pair Sony DR-Z7 head- 
phones, $45/pr, $200/all. Call L. Loewinger (212) 226- 
2429. 

For Sale: Audio Services Sound Cart w/ sliding 
drawer, top & side shelves, fibre shipping case, $775. 
Audio+DesignProPack II consumer-pro line level amp. 
$275. Carver M-400 amp, $125 as is. Call L. Loewinger 
(212) 226-2429. 

For Sale: 2 Audio Ltd. Dual Channel Radio Mikes, 
$2,600/unit. One Audio Ltd. Single Channel Radio 
Make, S 1 ,300/unit. AC power supplied, antenna split- 
ter, Ni-Cad charger, special antennas, $350 for all. 
Package, $6,500. Call L. Loewinger (212) 226-2429. 

For Sale: JK optical printer KI03 model with se- 
quencer, Bolex Rex 5 camera. Pan Cinor zoom lens 1 .2, 



F17 to 85 lens with viewfinder. Good price. Call (212) 
677-2181 after 6, or (212) 924-2254 (message). 

For Sale: Bolex 16mm reflex camera, 400' magazine, 
MST motor (24 fps), pistol grip, 16, 24 & 35mm lenses, 
tripod, etc. Excellent condition. Call Chris (212) 505- 
0369 or John (212) 529-1254. 

For Sale: Ikegami FTC 730. 2 Anton Bauer batteries, 
2 Anton Bauer chargers, AC adaptor, Universal fluid 
head & tripod. Ikegami hard shell case, Kangeroo soft 
case. Best offer over $4,300. Call Doron, (212) 620- 
9157. 

For Sale: Arri package: excellent, 3 mags, 3 cooke 
primes, 2 motors, 2 batteries, matte & filters, b/case: 
$2,500. Moviola: 16mm, very good, 1 pic & 2 sound 
heads, $1,500. Ang 12-120: Arri standard (rebuilt), 
$1 ,200. N.C.E.: head (rebuilt) & legs, $375. Wilm, NC 
(919) 392-0387. 

For Sale: 1/2" VHS editing system. 2 Panasonic AG 
1950'S & controller. Under warranty. $1,800 firm. 
Sansui AV 99 SEG. Under warranty, $350. (212) 219- 
0396. 

For Sale: Mint Moviola 6-plate M86-AH flickerless 
flatbed w/ instant start/stop circuit, $6500. Quality 
Magnasynch transfer machine, $1400. Quillotine spli- 
cers, Hollywood rewinds, tightwinds & mag reader, 
offers accepted (206) 285-3057. 

For Sale: Sachtler 7+7 tripod w/ carbon fiber legs, 
baby legs, triangle & cases; new, $3200. LTM mike 
pole, $225. Spectra Prometer, Pentax Spotmeter, Sony 
TC-D5 synch recorder & resolver, $950. Nakamichi 
550 Synch Cassette recorder. $550. ACL 400' mag, 
$800. Offers accepted (206) 285-3057. 

Freelancers 

Needed: Cameraman w/ own video equipment, Beta- 
cam or 3/4", to work 4-6 weeks on ecology project in 
Brazil. All expenses paid, crew provided. Project be- 
gins in March 1988. Call ASAP (212) 865-6274. 

Video Production: Experienced crew with complete 
package, including Sony CCD Camera, BVU 1 10 with 
Time Code, Lowell DPs. Omnis & Totas. Full audio & 
many other extras. High quality VHS & 3/4" duplication 
also available. Call (212)31 9-5970. 

Director/Cinematographer: 10th year specializing in 
unusual in-camera effects for complete 16mm music 
videos. Shoot, cut, transfer. Cost effective true artistic 
filmmaking. Arriflex, Ang., Sachtler, Lowel, car. 40 
min. from NYC. Call for reel & rates. Gerard Yates 
(914)764-8558. 

3/4" Video Production Package w/ new Sony DXC 
3000 camera, 15:1 Canon Lens, VO-6800 recorder & 
lighting, etc., w/ experienced cameraperson &/or assis- 
tant at reasonable rates. VHS & 8mm production also 
available. Call John Hession (212) 529-1254. 



ence in high falls, full burns, precision driving, bullet 
hits, explosions & more. Specialty camera operator 
including free-fall cinematographer & steadicam. 
Brian Veatch (303) 252-01 11. 

Award Winning Cameraman with good eye, good 
temperament & Arriflex S.R. package. Interested in 
documentaries & features. Reel available upon request. 
Call Doron at (212) 620-9157. 

Ind. Producer/Director seeks 10 to 30 minute script 
for showcase film. Small cast, affordable idea. Treat- 
ments/proposals also accepted. Some pay. Contact: 
Mark Mannucci. 162 Ninth Ave., NYC 1001 1; (212) 
645-0310. 

Experienced Gaffer available for interesting projects. 
Lighting packages, generators, location van & crew. 
Call for appointment. J. Anthony Productions (516) 
294-1038. 

Photos by Les Simon: 35mm still photographer avail- 
able for location scouting, set shoots, publicity shoots 
or what have you. Experienced, reasonable. Box 2287, 
New York, NY 10009; (212) 724-2800 (service). 

Composer: Classically trained with Ph.D. in composi- 
tion & long-time interest in film, would like to do music 
for film or video. I work primarily with electronically 
generated or sampled sounds in my own studio. If you 
need music, call Michael at (212) 755-1641. 

Production Crew Sought (Ohio area only) by inde- 
pendent film producer for part-time, low budget, dra- 
matic feature project. Needed are assistant camera op. 
( 16mm), production sound person, gaffer, grip & assis- 
tant director. Contact Paul (614) 268-5625 aft. 5pm 
Mon-Fri; anytime weekends. 

3/4" Editing: Sony BVUs with 4-trk mix/cassette, char, 
gen. $25/hr with editor. Location 3/4" shooting 2-man 
crew from $40/hr. Design, installation & maintenance 
of video & RF systems. Call Michael Posner (2 1 2) 69 1 - 
0375. 

Wanted: Experienced writer for feature docudrama in 
Atlanta. Call (404) 233-2032. 

Coproducer or AD willing to fundraise wanted by 
producer (Blue Ribbon winner of American Film Fest) 
for contemporary "Portraits in Courage" home video & 
TV series. Base salary & high commissions. Proposal & 
business plan avail. Resume & letter: Box 21538. 
Washington, DC 20009: (202) 332-3456. 

Do You Speak Spanish? DP, AC. Sound Recordist & 
PA wanted for political documentary to be shot in Hon- 
duras. Prefer candidates with previous experience in 
Central America. Send resume to: Guadalupe Produc- 
tions: Box 366. Prince St. Station, New York, NY 
10012. 

Composer: Experienced, versatile musician to create 
soundtracks for student & independent films. Ex- 
treme!) reasonable rales. Charles (212) SS5-0223. 



Stunt Coordinator/Special Effects Artist: Experi- Cinematographer to work on studeni & independent 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 




The Mm 

Award winning Film an 
(313)398-6090*24221 



EDITING COSTS 
RUN AMOK? 

BUDGETS IN CHAOS? 

There is an alternative! 

Regain control of your project 
creatively and financially. 

Edit it yourself on VHS 
at 29th Street Video. 

□ New JVC BR 8600/RM 86-U 
System 

□ SEG 

□ VHS Duplication 

□ Optional Character Generator 

□ SMPTE Burn-ins available 

□ Low Rates 




STREET VIDEO, INC. 

Call us at (212) 594-7530. 
We're committed to your success. 



Help Yourself. Join AIVF today! 




Call or write: 

625 Broadway. 9th floor 

NY. New York 10012 

(212)473-3400 



The Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers 




films with access to equipment at reasonable rates. 
Vincent (212) 620-0084. 

Interns Wanted. Support breakthrough format (video 
& improvisation) @ VideoParties in campus, home, 
cruiseship. Free training in shooting off monitor, ed- 
iting in camera, coaching, scenario writing. David 
Shepherd, producer Chicago Compass. Improv Olym- 
pix. (212) 777-7830. 

Accomplished Composer/Arranger will create score 
for your film or video. Experience the difference be- 
tween original & stock music. Synthesizer & orchestral 
works — from classical to rock — avail, upon request. 
Can work within most budgets. Eskow Music (201) 
647-8555. 



Postproduction 



Bob Brodsky & Toni TreadwaY: Super 8 & 8mm film- 
to-video mastering with scene-by-scene color correc- 
tion to 3/4", 1" & Betacam. By appointment only. Call 
(617) 666-3372. 

Sound Transfers: 16/35mm. all speeds & formats, 
including multi-track & time code. Full FX Library. 
Evening & weekend service available, convenient 
downtown location. Low rates. Downtown Transfer 

(212) 255- 



16mm FlatbedS: 6-plate flatbeds for rent in your work- 
space or fully equipped downtown editing room with 24 
hr access. Cheapest rates in NYC for independent 
filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions (212) 873- 
4470. 

Betacam Editing with good list management available 
by the week or month. T. Drew Co. (212) 769-9177. 

Negative Matching: 35mm. super 16mm. 16mm cut 
for printing or video transfer. Credits include Jim Jar- 
musch. Wim Wenders & Lizzie Borden. Reliable re- 
sults at reasonable rates. One White Glove. Tim Bren- 
nan. 225 Lafayette St. #914. New York, NY 10012; 
(212) 966-9484. 

Complete 3/4" Editing Suite available with expert 
editor. Reasonable prices. Call Roland Millman. Mer- 
chandising Workshop (212) 239-4646. 

Negative Matching: Complete 35mm & 16mm serv- 
ice. Discount available to AIVF members & students. 
Contact Wood Lam (212) 633-0815. 

Super VHS Editing: 400 plus lines of resolution at 3/ 
4" prices. Interformat with 3/4" & standard VHS. Also 
full Super VHS production services available. Samuel 
D. Wolf Studios (212) 219-0396. 



MOVING? 
LET US KNOW. 

It takes four to six weeks to 

process an address 

change, so please notify 

us in advance. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed free of charge. 
AIVF members receive first priority; 
others are included as space 
permits. The Independent reserves 
the right to edit for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., January 8 for the March 
issue. Send notices to: Independent 
Notices, FIVF, 625 Broadway, New 
York, NY 10012. 



Conferences • Workshops 

Black Filmmakers Foundation has launched 
monthly creative workshops for professional members 
of BFF, offering opportunity to polish crafts in a work- 
shop setting. Each workshop performance will be 
videotaped for immediate playback to allow group dis- 
cussion & critique of writing, direction & perform- 
ances. Held monthly on Sats, free participation limited 
to BFF members. Contact: Donna Green, BFF Mem- 
bership Coordinator; (212) 924- II 98. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

Independent Eye: KQED-TV in San Francisco seeks 
independent films & tapes of 1-20 min. in length that 
fuse the performing arts & television broadcast me- 
dium, incl. dance, music, comedy, theater, performance 
or video/film art pieces. (Traditional doc format not 
acceptable.) Program to be broadcast on monthly 
broadcast showcase Independent Eye. Payment of $ 1 0/ 
min. w/ minimum fee of $50. Send submissions to 
KQED, 500 8th St., San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 
553-2269. 

Submit Videotapes to Water Tower Art Assn. for gal- 
lery exhibition & distribution. All genres. Deadline: 
Jan. 31, 1988. Send tapes w/ return postage, mailer & 
bio to Ron Schildknecht, Water Tower Art Assn., 3005 
Upper River Rd„ Louisville, KY 40207; (502) 896- 
2146. 

The Asia Society is looking for shorts & new docs on 
Asia or Asian Amer. subjects by independent 
filmmakers for Spring 1988 film series. Filmmakers w/ 
recently completed films, or films nearing completion, 
please contact Somi Roy, Film Program Coordinator, 
the Asia Society, 725 Park Ave., New York, NY 10021; 
(212) 288-6400. 

Tapes* Films Wanted by independents in animation 
(political animation, new technologies in video & inno- 
vative/conceptual use of film/video tech.); documenta- 
ries (on nuclear disarmament, radiation, new weap- 
onry, scientific research w/ regard to high energy astro- 
physics, wave transmission & electricity, communica- 
tions, photographic technology & UFOs). For TV 
series Videoville. which will air one time only on the 
Learning Channel. Artist fees now $l2/min. Contact 
Wendy Chambers, Artmusic, Inc., 533 W. 49th St., #6. 
New York, NY 10019; (212)586-1911. 



The Discovery Channel seeks 60 min., 30 min. & 
short single & series docs that focus on people, places 
& cultures: nature & wildlife, history, science & tech. 
& human adventure. Topics not under consideration 
incl. drama, children's programs, performing arts, in- 
structional video & barter programs. Send submissions 
to the Discovery Channel, Program Acquisitions, 8201 
Corporate Dr., Ste. 1260, Landover, MD 20785. 

The Terminal: New gallery /performance space in 
Brooklyn seeks experimental films for monthly screen- 
ings. Objective is to show film artists' work to dance/ 
performance/fine artists and create a new outlet for 
experimental filmmakers. Contact: Suzanne Boucher 
(212) 254-5958 or the Terminal (718) 783-8946. 

London Video Arts and Interim Art seeks entries for 
Genlock, a video exhibition touring UK galleries 
through 1988. Particular interest in works that explore 
a conversational or monologue format, comic or seri- 
ous, which are accessible and address the viewer di- 
rectly. 10 min. max., on VHS or U-Matic. Deadline: 
Jan. 30. Send tapes to: Genlock. London Video Arts, 23 
Frith St., London WIV 5TS. U.K. 

Health Media Distributor w/ active line of AIDS- 
related films & videos seeks additional new produc- 
tions on AIDS for distribution. Maximum exposure 
guaranteed, high royalities. (217) 384-4838, collect. 

Women of Color Film Program: Equal Media of Lon- 
don presenting tapes & films directed by women of 
color on U.K.'s Channel 4 beginning Nov. '88. Series 
will incl. shorts, docs, features, animation & experi- 
mental works on 16mm, 35mm, or video; directed & 
preferably produced by women for theatrical, TV, or 
community distribution. Contact: Parmindir Vir, Equal 
Media Ltd., 1 Wakeman Rd., Kensal Rise, London 
NW10 5BJ, U.K.; 01-960-6876. 

The Learning Channel's spring '88 season of The 
Independents series will showcase films & tapes ad- 
dressing issues related to aging. Nonfiction, narrative, 
experimental & animation are welcome. Themes in- 
clude: Images & Perceptions, the Aging Body, Memo- 
ries & Older Expressions. Programs not broadcast in 
last 5 years given priority. Contact: Aging Series, c/o 
Roberta Grossman. 641 N. Poinsettia PI., L.A., CA 
90035; (213)934-6507. 



Opportunities • Gigs 

Teach in Japan: Individuals with a degree or experi- 
ence in video & video production wishing to teach 
English for one year in Japan to employees of major co- 
porations/govt. ministries, write: Int'l Education Serv- 
ices, Shin Taiso Bldg.. 10-7. Dogenzaka 2-chome, 
Shibuya-ku. Tokyo 150, Japan. 

Position Available: Operations Manager at Pitts- 
burgh Filmmakers, a regional media arts ctr. Respon- 
sible for mgmt. of equip., facilities & physical plant. 
Salary $15-17 ,000/y r commensurate w/exp. Send let- 
ter of appl. & current resume to Personnel Comm.. 
Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Box 7467. Pittsburgh, PA 
15213. 

Sales Rep wanted for video distr. at Minneapolis-based 




Film & Video 
Production Co. 

Independent Producers 

Fully equipped & Portable 

Reasonable rates 

• Commercials • 

* Music Videos • 
• Documentaries • 

• Industrials • 
It's not just equipment that 
makes a good crew, it's the 
creative talent that puts it to use. 

Call For Demo Reel 

(718)279-0273 



SYIM ESTHETICS 

Integrated Media Productions 

—VIDEO— 

► Complete post-production 
management 

► Off-line interformat editing 

• EDL generation 

• Striping/burn-in 

—GRAPHICS— 

» Logo creation 

» Full color paint system 

• Image digitization/effects 
» Slide/prints from video 

• Full 3D modeling w/texture 
mapping 

—AUDIO— 

• Midi music synthesis 

» Music scored for video/film 
' Narration recording 

• Sound effects, overdubs, lay-backs 

58 Walker St. • IMYC 10013 
212-431-4112 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



PUT YOUR MONEY 
WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS 

AIVF members and their families in 
New York and New Jersey are now 
eligible to participate in the New 
York Dental Plan. 

Coverage includes: 

• Up to 50% off the cost of all dental 
work without restrictions or limita- 
tions 

• One free check-up including x- 
rays, cleaning, and an examination 

• Free consultation with a plan 
specialist 

• Large savings on all specialty work 
including periodontics, orthodontics, 
endodontics, oral surgery, implants, 
and cosmetic dentistry. 

Coverage is accepted at over 800 
private offices throughout New York 
State and New Jersey. 

For more information, write: Ethan 
Young, Membership Services, 
AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012. 



FINE EDITING ON 3 A " VIDEO 




$25/ hr without editor 
$35/ hr with editor 



Also available: 

A/B Roll with TBC, special effects 
generator, character generator. 
VHS- 3 V transfers. 



CREATIVE VISUAL MEDIA. INC. 

Fort Lee, N.J. 

(just across GW Bridge) 

Tel: (201) 585-1847 



media arts ctr. Collection reaches nontheatrical educa- 
tion users & int'l & broadcast markets. Send resume & 
cover letter to Distribution Director. Also open: Visual 
Arts Curator, part-time. Work with video & music 
curators in program schedule and overall aesthetic. 
Position involves mounting interdisciplinary and elec- 
tronic media art installations, programming perform- 
ance art pieces, and some grantwriting. Deadline: Jan. 
8. Send resume & references to Tom Borrup. Interme- 
dia Arts, 425 Ontario St., SE, Minneapolis, MN 554 1 4. 

Managing Director wanted at Film in the Cities. St. 
Paul-based media arts ctr. w/ SI.5-million budget. 
Responsibilities incl. personnel & financial adm., fa- 
cilities mgmt. liaison to board, policy implementation 
& planning. Also open: position for Film/Video (& 
Performance) Director to program new 270 seat theater 
w/35mm. 16mm & video projection. May also program 
performance art, new music & jazz. Send resumes to 
Richard Weise, Film in the Cities, 2388 University 
Ave.. St. Paul, MN55114. 

Hampshire College seeks teacher in writing for the 
media: scriptwriting, doc research & writing, broadcast 
news &/or print journalism w/ interest in cultural prod. 
& problems of minority/3rd World representation. 
Graduate study/terminal degree required. 3-year re- 
newable contract starting Sept. 1988. Application re- 
views begin Jan. 1988. Send letter, vita, references, 
writing sample to Communications Search Comm.. 
CCS, Hampshire College, Amherst. MA 01002. 

Radio-TV-Film Dept at Temple Univ. seeks 2 addi- 
tional faculty members. Premium placed on expertise in 
film & video analysis & communication arts, but appli- 
cations are invited for tenure-track positions combining 
expertise in documentary film/video production, TV 
production, writing for the media, broadcast news, 
communciations theory & mass communciations stud- 
ies. Prior professional &/or teaching experience, plus 
commitment to undergrad & grad instruction required. 
Rank & salary dependent on exp. Women & minorities 
encouraged to apply. Deadline: March 1. Send letter, 
resume, 3 references to: Herbert Dordick. Chair. Radio- 
TV-Film Dept.. Temple University, Philadelphia. PA 
19122. 



Publications • Software 

Third World Newsreel 20th Anniversary program 
guide & catalogue lists two decades of social issue film 
& video. Available from Third World Newsreel. 335 
W. 38th St., 5th fl.. New York, NY 10018: (212) 947- 
9277. 

Southern Africa Media Center now offers educators 
& activists a pkg. of 6 video programs on Southern 
Africa for S595 (otherwise $195 per title). Titles incl. 
Winnie & Nelson Mandela. Generations of Resistance . 
Bound to Strike Back. Destructive Engagement, Corri- 
dors of Freedom. South Africa Belongs to Us. Contact 
Southern Africa Media Ctr.. California Newsreel. 630 
Natoma St.. San Francisco. CA 94 1 03; (4 1 5) 62 1 -6 1 96. 

Frontline South Africa: Channel 4 study guide for 
the programs Frontline Southern Africa: Destructive 
Engagement & Corridors of Freedom incls. bibliogra- 
phy. Published by Channel 4 TV, 60 Charlotte St.. 
London W1P 2AX. England. 

Work by Women: special issue of Art & Cinema incls. 
articles & interviews on womens film, video, theater & 



dance. Vol. 1 , No. 3. Fall '87. Art & Cinema. Box 1 208. 
Imperial Beach, CA 92032. 



Resources • Funds 

National Endowment for the Arts: Arts Adm. Fel- 
lows Program encompasses 13 wksat NEA's Washing- 
ton. DC offices to become acquainted w/ the policies & 
operations of the agency & gain a nat'l overview of arts 
activities. Deadline: Jan. 8. 1988. Contact: Arts Adm. 
Fellows Program. NEA, 1 100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. 
Washington, DC 20506. 

National Endowment for the Humanities: Next 
deadline for humanities projects in the media: March 
18. 1988. Contact: James Dougherty. NEH. 11 00 Penn- 
sylvania Ave.. NW, Washington, DC 20506; (202) 
786-0378. 

Southeast Media Fellowship Awards: for prod, 
grants of up to $5,000 for new works or works-in- 
progress & for Equip. Access Grants. Deadline: Feb. 1 . 
1988. Contact SEMFP, c/o Appalshop. Box 743. 
Whitesburg, KY 41858; (606) 633-0108. 

South Carolina Arts Council: Grants in Aid Pro- 
gram for Professional Discipline/Individual Artists ap- 
plication deadline: Jan. 15. 1988: Contact: SCAC, 1800 
Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201: 734-8696. 

New York State Film Exhibition Program grants 
available from the Film Bureau. Offered to nonprofit 
organizations in NYS for film screenings of ind. works 
or films not ordinarily available to the public. Matching 
funds of up to S300 are available for film rentals & up 
to S200 per speaking engagement for presentations by 
filmmakers, producers, directors, technicians & schol- 
ars. Deadline: Jan. 15. Contact: Film Bureau. F/VA. 
8 1 7 Broadway. New York, NY 1 0003-4797; (2 1 2) 673- 
9361. 

Corporation for Public Broadcastings Open So- 
licitation deadlines for FY '88: Jan. 8 & April 22, 1988. 
For appls. contact: CPB. 1111 16th St. NW, Washing- 
ton, DC 20036; (202) 955-5100. 

HarvestworkS: Artists-in-Residence program for art- 
ists working w/ audio as creative medium. Residency 
offers studio prod, time to complete a new work at 
Studio PASS. incl. studio redesigned w/ 10' x 15' "live" 
recording room, new mixing console. 24 in & 8 out & 
1/2" 8-trk to Macintosh computer synchronization. 
Artists receive 20-40 hrs of access to studio, full-time 
engineer, tape & other materials. Radio projects wel- 
come. Artists in audio, film, dance, video, radio, music, 
theater & performance art encouraged to apply, regard- 
less of technical skills. Deadline: Jan. 8. 1988. Contact: 
Debbie McBride. Harvestworks. AIR Program. 596 
Broadway. #602. New York. NY 10012; (212) 431 - 
1130. 

Real Art Ways Audio & Video Access Center avail- 
able to ind. producers. Multi-track recording studio & 
3/4" shooting & editing video facility. Subsidies of- 
fered for portion of user cost. Consultation, production 
& technical assistance also provided. Contact: Marty 
Fegy. technical director or Victor Velt. video curator. 
Real Art Ways, 94 Allyn St.. Hartford. CT. 06103- 
1402. 

Fusion/Fission, a regrant program that commissions 
interdisciplinary projects by artists from New England 
(ME. NH. VT, RI, MA, CT), accepting applications 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



postmarked by Jan. 9. Five to seven commissions of 
S2000-S6000 awarded. Send six copies of: one-pg. 
narrative, itemized budget, project timeline, resumes; 
send one copy of applicants' work samples. For details 
contact: Jill Stone, Fusion/Fission, Real Art Ways, 94 
Allyn St., Hartford, CT 06103: (203) 525-5521. 

Hallwalls. recipient of a $24,500 "Program Initiative 
for Interdisciplinary Artists" regrant from the 
Rockefeller Foundation in conjunction with the NEA, 
will award 10 grants of $1000-$4000 to interdiscipli- 
nary artists residing in upstate NY, OH & WV. Contact: 
Dawn Dumpert. Hallways also received a $6000 Film 
Regrant from the New York State Council on the Arts, 
and will award 5- 10 grants ranging from $500-$ 1000 to 
filmmakers in the Western NY counties of Allegheny, 
Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee. Niagara, 
Orleans & Wyoming. Contact: Steve Gallagher. Dead- 
lines: Feb. 1. Hallwalls, 700 Main St., Buffalo, NY 
14202: (716) 854-5828. 

Apparatus Productions, a nonprofit organization, 
seeks scripts for short experimental narrative films 
planned for prod, in spring 1988. For appl. send SASE 
to 225 Lafayette, Rm 507, New York, NY 10012. 

Film/Video Project Sponsorship: The Collective for 
Living Cinema serves as a nonprofit sponsorship or- 
ganization for selected film & video projects. For 
information & guidelines contact: Jack Walsh, Collec- 
tive for Living Cinema, 4 1 White Street, New York, NY 
10013; (212)925-3926. 



Trims & Glitches 

Congrats to Orinne J.T. Takagi, who has been 
awarded a grant from the Sojourner Truth Fund of the 
Funding Exchange's National Community Funds for 
her documentary Korea: Homes Apart. 

Kudos to Pacifica Radio Archive, recently awarded a 
S55.000 grant from the Nat'l Historical Publications & 
Records Commission of the National Archives to assist 
in the restoration of about 7,000 public radio programs 
from the early 1950s, '60s & "70s. 

AIVF member Nan Helm has been awarded 1 st prize at 
the Suffolk Film & Video Festival. Congrats! 

Kudos to AIVF members who earned 1987 Southeast 
Film & Video Fellowships: Julie Dash, Daughters of 
the Dust; Mark Mori, Building Bombs; Ross Spears, 
Famous Men: Nancy Yasecko, Lagoon; Tom Daven- 
port. Sand Mountain documentary; Lucy Massie 
Phenix, Galapagos; Andrew Garrison, Earl Gilmore 
documentary & Eric Mofford, Travelin' Trains. 

Congratulations to Robert Walker, winner of an 
Equipment Access Grant from the South Carolina Arts 
Commission Media Arts Center. 

Kudos to Larry Loewinger, nominated for an Emmy for 
his work as supervising engineer & techical producer 
on Vladimir Horowitz: The Last Romantic. 

Congrats to Gordon Hitchens. selected as Foundation 
Fellow by the Writers Guild of America East for his 
screenplay The Diamond Pilot & treatment Old Man 
Moses. 



SHIP-SHAPE SHIPPING 

by Wendy Lidell & Victoria Cammarota, 16 pp. 

Everything you wanted to know about transporting your films & 

tapes overseas . . . but were afraid to ask. 

• Post Office regulations 

• International price charts 

• Private shipping services 

• Timetables 

• Important addresses 

$3.00 plus $1.00 postage and handling, payable to AIVF 
AIVF, 625 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 



MOBILE 

COURIERS & TRUCKS 




Interlock Screening Rooms 



Tested. & 
GUARANTEED FOR MASTERING 
3/4' Used Video Cassettes 

NEW, MAJOR BRAND VIDEO CASSETTES 
AT DISCOUNT PRICES 



FRESH (we ship on next bus/plane out) 

Scotch 'n Kodak 

AFTER HOURS/ 

FILM STOCK. VIDEO TAPE. AUDIO TAPE. LEADER & SUPPLIES 

RAFIK 475 -7884 



NEW YORK'S LEADING 
FILM INDUSTRY 
MESSENGER SERVICE 
est. 1970 



Speed is our specialty 
we deliver anything 
anywhere. . . 

751-7765 
247-7400 




EDUCATIONAL VIDEO CENTER 

87 Lafayette Street • New York, NY 10013 • 212-219-8129 



EDITING— $1Q/HR, $20/HR w/editor 

%" SONY RM 440/5800-5850 

VHS JVC RM 86U/BR 8600U 

CHARACTER GENERATING— $25/HR 

SONY M3A CAMERA PACKAGE -$330/DAY 
INDEPENDENTS WELCOMED 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



MEMORANDA 



CORRECTIONS 

We would like to apologize for omitting picture 
credits for Lily Diaz, the photographer respon- 
sible for the reproductions of photographs from 
the archive of the Division of Community Educa- 
tion in Puerto Rico that accompanied the article 
"Films with a Purpose: A Puerto Rican Experi- 
ment in Social Film," by Ines Mongil Echandi and 
Luis Rosario Albert, in the July issue of The 
Independent. 

Also, in the caption for the cover photo for the 
October issue we failed to identify the actor in 
Woody Vasulka's videotape Art of Memory; he is 
dancer, choreographer, and teacher Daniel Na- 
grin. 

AIVF THANKS 

We wish to thank the following individuals for 
their contributions to the AIVF/Emergency Leg- 
islative Fund: Roy Campanella Jr., Howard 
Dratch, Kathleen Herman, Arthur Kamett, Doug 
LeClaire, Michael Loukinen, and Jesus Trevino. 
The fund was established to help subsidize a 
campaign to secure public television reforms and 
establish a National Independent Program Serv- 
ice that will guarantee funding, promotion, and 
distribution of independent film and video. Those 
who would like to receive information or to make 
contributions should write or send checks, pay- 
able to AIVF/Emergency Legislative Fund, to: 
AIVF. 625 Broadway, 9th floor. New York, NY 
10012. 

We would also like to thank Arthur Dean for 
his contribution to the AIVF/National Coalition 
Fund, established for the same purposes. 

FIVF THANKS 

The Foundation for Independent Video and Film 
( FIVF). the foundation affiliate of the Association 
of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF). 
supports a variety of programs and services for the 
independent producer community, including 
publication of The Independent, maintenance of 
the Festival Bureau, seminars and workshops, an 
information clearinghouse, and a grant making 
program. None of this work would be possible 
without the generous support of the following 
agencies, foundations and organizations: The 
New York State Council on the Arts, the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the 
Governor's Office of Motion Picture and Televi- 
sion Development, the Morgan Guaranty Trust 
Company of New York, the Consolidated Edison 
Company of New York, the Benton Foundation, 
the Funding Exchange, and the dozens of organi- 
zations that advertise in The Independent. 



INDEPENDENT BOOKSHELF 

Get The Money and Shoot 

Jackson, $20.00 

How to obtain government, corporate, 
and foundation grants; how to write a 
proposal; budgets; sample film from 
start to finish; other useful publications. 

Independent Feature Film Production 

Goodell, $9.95 

Legal structures and financing, the pre- 
production package, the production 
process, post-production, distribution 
and marketing, samples of limited 
partnership agreements and budgets. 

The Copyright Primer for Film and Video 

Sparkman, $3.50 

Practical copyright information: what is 
covered by copyright, registration 
procedure, exceptions, sample re- 
leases. 

Selected Issues in Media Law 

Mayer, $2.50 

Legal information on copyrights, option 
agreements, distribution contracts, 
glossary of legal terms. 

Before You Shoot 

Garvey, $10.00 

Manual for the production side of 
filmmaking— from the idea stage to 
distribution. 

The Independent Film and Videomakers 
Guide 

Wiese, $16.95 

Advice on film and video financing; 
investor presentations; limited partner- 
ships; market research, distribution; list 
of buyers of non-theatrical films; pay TV, 
foreign TV and home video, contacts 
for music videos. 

Home Video: Producing for the Home 
MarKet 

Wiese, $16.95 

Advice on development and distribu- 
tion of original home video programs, 
new marketing opportunities for 
independent producers, and info on 
presentations, bugeting, and contracts. 

Film and Video Budgets 

Wiese, $16.95 

How to prepare budgets for documen- 



taries, commercials, shorts, low budget 
features, pay TV segments, and music 
videos. Practical advice on budgeting, 
negotiations, and money-saving tips; 
sample budgets. 

Ship Shape Shipping 

Udell. $3.00 

Practical advice on international 
transport of films and video tapes; using 
post office/private shipping services; 
customs requirements. 

Sponsorships: A Guide for Video and 
Filmmakers 

Goldman/Green, $6.00 

How to find, choose, and work with 
nonprofit sponsors, including resource 
list and sample letters of agreement. 



Send check or money order for amount 
plus $2.00 postage and handling (add 
$1 .00 for each extra book) to AIVF 
Publications, 625 Broadway, 9th fl., 
New York, NY 10012. 



HEAR IT NOW 

FESTIVAL CIRCUIT CONFIDENTIAL 

AN AIVF SEMINAR ON AUDIOCASSETTE 

A panel discussion on international festivals and 
trends in overseas marketing options for independ- 
ents, held on September 30, 1987 

Guido Chiesa US representative, 
'Turin International Youth Film Festival 

Janb Grillo Director of Acquisitions, 
New Line Cinema 

Gordon Hitchens US representative, 
Berlin International Film Festival and 
Nyon Documentary Film Festival 

Joanne Koch Executive Director, 
New York Film Festival 

Joy Pereths VP International for Sales and 
Acquisitions, International Film Exchange 

Kathryn Bowser Director, 
FIVF Festival Bureau 

...AND YOU ARE THERE 

$12.00 prepaid (postage included) 

AIVF Publications, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New 
York NY 10012 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1988 




Start on EASTMAN. 

Finish on EASTMAN. 

Film • Tape 




Eastman Kodak Company, Motion Picture and Audiovisual Products Division 

Atlanta: 404/351-6510 'Chicago: 312/218-5174 'Dallas: 214/506-9700 'Hollywood: 213/464-6131 'Honolulu: 808/833-1661 -New York: 212/930-8000 

Rochester: 716/254-1300 • Washington, DC: 703/558-9220 • Montreal: 514/761-3481 • Toronto: 416/766-8233 • Vancouver 604/987-8191. 

© Eastman Kodak Company. 1986 



ACM SIGGRAPH 88 
ARTSHOW 




15th 
Annual 
Conference 
Atlanta, Georgia 
August 1-5, 1988 



Artists working with 
computers are invited 
to participate 



Contact: Lucy Petrovich 

SIGGRAPH 88 Art Show 
University of Wisconsin 
6241 Humanities Bldg. 
Madison, Wl 53706 
(608) 437-3281 
Deadline is March 1. 



Video Duplication 

3/4" U-matic & 1/2" VHS or Beta II Copies 

FROM ONE 20 MINUTES 30 MINUTES 60 MINUTES 1/2" VHS/BETA II 
MASTER 3/4" 1/2" 3/4" 1/2" 3/4" 1/2" 90 MIN. 120 MIN. 



One. Copy $4.00 $4.00 


$6.00 $5.00 


$9.00 $8.00 


$1 1.00 


$14.00 


2-4 Copies 3.50 3.00 


5.50 4.50 


8.00 6.00 


8.00 


9.00 


5-9 Copies 3.00 2.50 


4.50 3.50 


7.00 5.00 


7.00 


8.00 


10-24 Copies 2.50 2.00 


4.00 3.00 


6.00 4.50 


6.00 


7.00 


PRICES, NOT INCLUDING STOCK. ARE PER COPY. 


ASSEMBLY CHARGES ARE 


ADDITIONAL. 



EQUIPMENT: 3/4" Sony, 1/2" Panasonic 2 ch. industrial recorders and Grass 
Valley & Videotek distributors. Time base correction, optional, with Microtime 
and Tektronix equipment. 

3/4" EDITING - PER HOUR, DAY or WEEK 

RM 440/5800-5859 " $20/HR. 
/5800-2860A - $15/HR. 
24 Hour Access Available 



(212)475-7884 

814 BROADWAY 
NEW YORK, NY 10003 



Fully equipped 16 mm editing facilities 




w 




— > 






<-* 






r> 






—* 






Safe, convenient location 24 hour access Short & long term rentals 


New York's Only Up-the-Block, 
Round-the Clock Editing Facilities 


21 WEST 86th STREET, NYC 212-580-2075 



Vl*IO 

212 -645 -3790/1 



AFFORDABLE POST PRODUCTION 



Including: OFF-LINE EDITING 



A/B ROLL 



COMPUTER GRAPHICS 



PRODUCTION 



Conception to Completion 



5 West 20th St. 5th Floor, New York, New York 10011 



- 


FIVF 

625 Broadway, 9th floor 

New York, NY 10012 


NON-PROFIT ORG 
U.S. POSTAGE 

PAID 

New York, N.Y. 
Permit No.7089 







MARCH 1988 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY $2. 50 




How To Find 
Footage Fast . 

NBC News 
Video Archive. 




You probably won't have to call anywhere 
else. The NBC News Archive is an 
incomparable resource. Miles of footage 
covering dozens of countries, from 
decades ago to today. Not only news 
events, but rich background material on 
every conceivable subject. 

And vast as the Archive is, it's easy to 



find what you need. You'll work one-on- 
one with an expert researcher, right 
through to your final edit. 

NBC News' commitment to its own 
on-air quality guarantees first-class, 
carefully preserved material. And a 
variable price structure guarantees 
lowest possible costs. 



Call or write NBC News Video Archive 

30 Rockefeller Plaza,NewYork,NY 10112/(212)664-3797 

FAX: 212-957-8917 • INTERNATIONAL TELEX: 232346 A • DOMESTIC TELEX: 12471 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INXPENXNr 



MARCH 1988 
VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 



Publisher 

Editor 

Managing Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 

Art Director: 

Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Raina Fortini 
Ruth Copeland 
Christopher Holme 
(212-473-3400) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ 07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is puPlished ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473- 
3400), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation dedicated to the 
promotion of video and film, and by the 
Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade 
association of independent producers and 
individuals involved in independent video 
and film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independent 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is 
assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addresssed to the editor. Letters may be 
edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for the Independent Video and 
Film, Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and 
acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198. The Independent is indexed in 
the Alternative Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 1988 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director: Ethan Young, membership/ 
programming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival 
Pureau director; Morton Marks, business manager; 
Raina Fortini, administrative assistant; Sol Horowitz, 
Short Film Showcase project administrator. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Rachel Field 
(chair), Robert Richter (president), Loni Ding (vice 
president), Wendy Lidell (secretary), Richard Lorber 
(treasurer), RoPert Aaronson, Adrianne Benton, 
Christine Choy, Lisa Frigand.' Regge Life, Tom 
Luddy,' Deanna Morse, Lawrence Sapadin (ex 
officio), Steve Savage,' Barton Weiss, John Taylor 
Williams.' 

' FIVF Board of Directors only 



CONTENTS 



20 FEATURES 

Sleuth: The Search for Television News Footage 

by Patricia Thomson 

Archivists' Agenda for Independent Media 

by Jan-Christopher Horak 

2 LETTERS 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

Artists Act to Reform Tax Reform Act 

by Martha Gever 

Congress Assesses Public Television's Underachievements 

by Patricia Thomson 

CPB's Definition of an Independent Producer 

Appalshop's Production Pool 

by Renee Tajima 

At the (Alternative) Movies 
Changing the Rules at NYSCA Media 
Kim-Gibson Departs NYSCA 
Alan Mitosky: 1934-1988 
Sequels 

12 FIELD REPORT 

Conspicuous Consumption: The 1987 Flaherty Film Seminar 

by Scott MacDonald 

18 LEGAL BRIEF 

Breaking the Code: The Impact of the New Tax Law 

by Martha Gever 

28 FESTIVALS 

Measuring Videoactivity: The 1987 AFI Video Festival 

by Martha Gever 

Video on AIDS at AFI 

by John Greyson 

In Brief 

36 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

39 CLASSIFIEDS 

40 NOTICES 

44 MEMORANDA 

Minutes of the AIVF/FIVF Board of Directors Meeting 



COVER: An anti-Vietnam War student demonstrator waits to be hauled off in a 
paddy wagon in The War at Home, a film which makes extensive use of old TV 
news footage. In "Sleuth: The Search for Television News Footage" Patricia 
Thomson tells how some producers have successfully tracked down and 
obtained licensing for archival material from TV stations and from the growing 
number of local television archives. Photo: Skip Heine, the Capitol Times, 
Madison. 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



LETTERS 



PILGRIM'S PROGRESS 

To the editor: 

I had just finished celebrating Bill Viola's video 
installation opening at the Museum of Modern Art 
when I read the dismal quote by Neil Seiling on 
the cover of the November Independent about the 
state of video. [Ed.' s note: This quote is the 
epigram for Renee Tajima's "The Video Trade, 
Part Two: Promotion, Pricing, and Percentages."] 
I find it not only misleading but the wrong and 
potentially damaging signal for AI VF to be broad- 
casting. The past year has seen the exposure of 
independent video through museums, festivals, 
media centers, libraries, schools, universities, 
video stores, community and special interest 
groups, cable access, the Learning Channel, 
Campus Network, PBS, Showtime, Bravo, NBC, 
satellite transmissions, etc. Contrary to Neil's 
comment that "there's not a whole lot of traffic in 
video," traffic has never been heavier. 

The impact cannot be measured in dollars 
alone, as Renee does in her article. Part of our role 
as independents is to influence mainstream media 
by serving as an experimental laboratory for tech- 
nique and by carrying messages that the commer- 
cial enterprises can't or won't. The experiment is 
time-consuming and risky. Production some- 
times does require the monastery setting Neil 
mentions. Although art video distributors choose 
more experimental, esoteric, and difficult video, 
they usually have too much work for their small 
staffs rather than a lack of traffic. It may be that 
there are more distributors of art video than the 
market can sustain. But their diversified approach 
is important in order to develop new audiences for 
intentionally unusual tapes. 

There is no doubt that art video has smaller 
audiences than prime time television. However, 
the quote and Renee Tajima's article wrongly 
generalized art video distribution to the whole 
field. In addition, overall demand is underre- 
ported by Tajima's article. Some additional art 
video distributors like ArtCom, Art Metropole, 
and Voyager Press were ignored. The more com- 
mercial broadcast/cablecast/foreign distributors 
(like Devillier-Donegon, Fox/Lorber, Coe Film 
Associates, King Features Syndicate, and others), 
which enthusiastically and successfully carry 
independent video, were omitted entirely. The 
importance of self-distribution was underesti- 
mated. Although markets expand and shrink with 
the economy, video industry developments, and 
government budget policies, there is a proven 
demand for independent video once it is pro- 
duced. 

If the cover quote and Tajima's article intend to 
challenge Independent readers, perhaps the re- 
sponse from independent video- and filmmakers 
should be directed to our representatives in Wash- 



ington, urging support for increased budgets for 
the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corpo- 
ration for Public Broadcasting, the National 
Endowment for the Humanities, and other funders 
of independent media. It is funding for promotion 
and audience development by nonprofit distribu- 
tors, for tape acquisition and rental by public 
institutions, and for independent video and TV 
production that is in short supply, not traffic. 

— Skip Blumberg 
New York, NY 



To the editor: 

I would like to thank The Independent and Renee 
Tajima for the recent two-part series on video art 
distribution ["The Video Trade, Part One: The 
Distributors," October 1987, as well as "Part 
Two," mentioned above]. At this time, when the 
rules of distribution are changing, we need further 
discussion and communication between the indi- 
viduals and organizations involved. 

But I would like to add my voice to the chorus 
of opinions on this subject, given the discussions 
at the National Alliance of Media Arts Centers' 
conference last June, as well as previous debates, 
because I believe that many people are asking 
incomplete questions. For instance, I do not think 
that Neil Selling's quote about video art existing 
only in "monasteries" should be taken negatively, 
because to me, that is where Art lives. Art cannot 
go to the masses, one must make pilgrimages to 
art. Everyone continually clamors about the 
communicative properties of video — that it is a 
revolutionary art form for the masses. I believe 
that this is false, that artists are mistaking a tech- 
nical property of the medium for the essence of an 
art form. Artists' personal expression may not 
survive a process that concentrates on mass distri- 
bution. 

Paradoxically, as we complain about the vapid- 
ness of the mass media, we all scrabble for a piece 
of the pie. unaware that the problem lies not in the 
product we introduce into the system, but in the 
system itself. Of course, social issue video fash- 
ions itself as a visionary and propagandistic tool. 
Yet, to be distributed, to be transmitted, and to be 
eventually consumed by the mass audience, video 
must overemphasize its technical properties. At 
the commercial extreme such videos become 
slick. Videos of this sort no longer resemble an 
original informative vision, but are merely reas- 
suring commodities for the mass consumer of the 
status quo. Art is fragile and exists only as an act 
of creation within a certain time and space. If one 
attempts to remove the work from its structure of 
creation and meaning, it becomes stripped of all 
references. This is the danger of mass distribution. 

Like other distributors, I feel the pinch of being 
caught between a lack of funds and the pressure of 



the market-driven home video world. At Interme- 
dia Arts we are adapting to these pressures, but to 
blindly adopt models of mass distribution based 
on quantitative input and output, on price and 
volume, is sheer folly. Sure, I wish I sold more 
tapes, but the criteria for success on those terms is 
solely capitalist and not necessarily adequate 
when judging artistic and educational value. I 
agree with Lawrence Daressa of California News- 
reel, who stated at the NAMAC conference, "Our 
promotion and marketing of media arts must re- 
flect the fact that we are no longer selling or 
screening videotape commodities so much as new 
ways of seeing." 

Distribution serves a very important promo- 
tional role. It is one path into the world, but it is a 
delusion to believe that it can replace our schools, 
libraries, media arts centers, museums — our 
"monasteries" — and we should be grateful for 
them. Maybe we should not question the accep- 
tance of video art in the world but examine our 
commitment to ourselves and to our monasteries. 
Why are there so few left? Why are they not 
supported? 

— Bob Gale 

distribution director. Intermedia Arts of 

Minnesota 

Minneapolis, MN 



MARKET TRENDS 

To the editor: 

In "Final Cut at the IFP Market" ["Media Clips," 
by Martha Gever, with Janet Wickenhaver, Janu- 
ary/February 1988] a number of important ques- 
tions were raised regarding the selection process 
of the IFP-East Market. I attended this year's 
market representing the U.S. Film Festival as one 
of the documentary film programmers. However. 
I spent most of my time working as president of 
Direct Cinema Limited, a distributor of documen- 
taries, short films, and specialized features. 

I agree with your analysis of this year' s market 
in terms of the selection process. One of the many 
outstanding documentary features rejected for 
fuzzy reasons was Whitney Blake's Reno' s Kids. 
Whitney is a Los Angeles-based independent 
whose first feature documents the story of Reno 
Taini, a California teacher who shows students 
that they can succeed. The film should have been 
in the market. This is one "market" that should be 
open to all independents who wish to have their 
films or videotapes shown. Whitney and other 
independent filmmakers whose work was re- 
jected were done an enormous disservice by the 
IFP. 

Another issue not mentioned in your article 
was the IFP's decision to hold its "market" with 
limited film and video screening facilities. Most 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



markets in the world use multiple screening facili- 
ties for film and tape. Further, most markets are 
set up for distributors, not just filmmakers, to 
show work to buyers. There is no reason why the 
IFP market could not be shorter (to make it easier 
for people coming to New York from out of town), 
faster (by using dozens of video screening facili- 
ties, perhaps in hotel suites to facilitate screening 
on request), and larger (by showing more films 
and tapes ). Other questions arise concerning loca- 
tion and timing. This "market" is still in the wrong 
city at the wrong time of year. Independents 
would be better served by a market in Los Angeles 
preceding the American Film Market, the largest 
market for features in the world, held in the spring. 
As it is, the market is now scheduled in the fall, 
coinciding with the New York Film Festival 
which shows far too few independent works to 
attract buyers. At that time of year most recent 
independent works have already been in the 
marketplace for months (in many cases, trying to 
get into the New York Film Festival or Telluride). 
By coming in the spring, the market would take 
place at what's commonly considered the begin- 
ning of the film year (along with other key events 
on that calendar — the U.S. Film Festival in Janu- 
ary, the AFM, and Cannes in May), not the end. 

—Mitchell W. Block 
Los Angeles, CA 

To the editor: 

Your article with Janet Wickenhaver on the IFP 
Market was strange, doctrinaire, and thoroughly 
retrograde. In the first instance, you are critical of 
"curatorial control." But through the body of the 
essay you berate the IFP for lacking criteria for its 
selection process. Which is to be criticized: the 
principle of selection or the criteria for selection? 

Curating — a.k.a. editing, selecting, framing, 
history, culture, context, etc. — is the air we 
breathe, inescapable in life or philosophy. To 
think otherwise epitomizes the great myth of 
laissez-faire pluralism championed by the far 
right. You and Wickenhaver appear to take this far 
right (or is it ultra left?) position. 

Curatorial work is a qualitative service, an 
intervention into the field to select work for a 
specific context. It is work that the IFP Market 
should and must perform: in the service of the 
field to establish intentions, create criteria, and 
make selections. A laissez-faire marketplace is a 
capitalist's dream. Wake up! 

What those intentions are and which criteria 
are adopted is obviously open to debate. Here you 
are right in your (long-winded) criticism of the 
organization. These challenges come with the 
territory and the IFP will rise to meet them. 

— Tony Safford 

director. Exhibitions and Conferences, 

Sundance Institute 

Burbank, CA 



Martha Gever replies: 

I can only agree with Safford that no "market" is 
"free" — that is, not free from the values of those 
who control it. The questions and analysis con- 
tained in my article on the IFP Market precisely 
address that point. In other words, I didn't imme- 
diately accede to Robert Odell and Karen 
Arikian's explanations that their decisions were 
ultimately "subjective" but tried to determine 
what subjectivities were at work when they re- 
jected films and videotapes for screening at the 
IFM. Since neither of them was willing to tell me, 
I could only point out the discrepancies between 
the official criteria invoked and the selections 
they made. 

Of course, the more obvious contradiction that 
I discerned in the IFP's recent restructuring of the 
Market was that between the commonly held 
understanding of a film or television market — 
open to those willing to pay the fee — andacurated 
exhibition like a festival, where selection proc- 
esses are overtly declared. My own political phi- 
losophy has nothing to do with these definitions. 

What is pertinent in an evaluation of the IFM is 
its claim to provide a market, not a festival, for 
independent work. If this seems like mere word- 
play, witness the $150 fee the IFP charges to 
attend the event, a price perhaps affordable for 
buyers but not for most film buffs, or magazine 
editors for that matter. In this light, it seems 
reasonable to question the IFP's policies of exclu- 
sion, as Block and others have done. If the IFP 
now decides that it must limit entries — which, as 
Block points out, is not the only possible solution 
to the IFM's new-found popularity — the adminis- 
trators of the Market can be asked to clarify their 
procedures and criteria. As an organization sup- 
ported by public funds, they have a responsibility 
to do so. They have the additional responsibilty to 
not mislead independent film- and videomakers 
who pay to use their services. Whether or not the 
IFP will undertake such clarifications remains to 
be seen. 



MOVING? 



LET US KNOW. 



It takes four to six 
weeks to process an 

address change, 

so please notify us in 

advance. 



Why does 

weekend 

warrior 

Productions 

use F/VA? 




Ian Karr 

Producer/Director, Weekend Warrior Productions 



'We came to Film/Video Arts to 
edit from our VHS Camcorder orig- 
inal onto W. 'Single in New York' 
was an eight-part half-hour pro- 
gram we produced for cable, and 
the concept is now being looked 
at for syndication. The editors at 
F/VA are proficient, creative, and 
backed up by a dedicated staff. 
They helped us get our program 
on the air, on time and on budget. 
Working together, we've done a 
great job." " _ (an Karr 



For price information and a 
consultation on your project, 

call the industry Services 

Program at Film/ video Arts. 

Ask for Jeff Marino. 

212 673-9361 



FILM /VIDEO ARTS AND 

INDEPENDENTS: 

WORKING TOGETHER FOR 

TWENTY YEARS 

817 Broadway at 12th Street 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 3 



MEDIA CLIPS 



ARTISTS ACT TO REFORM TAX REFORM ACT 



According to the politicians responsible for the 
1986 Tax Reform Act, the new tax law promised 
to simplify filing requirements and alleviate in- 
equities among taxpayers. For most individuals 
very few benefits actually have been reaped, 
while certain provisions in the tax code have sewn 
confusion and, in some cases, provoked alarm 
among workers who must now spend longer hours 
calculating their tax returns, pay higher taxes than 
ever, and still worry about the possibility of find- 
ing a notice from an IRS auditor in their 
mailboxes. Perhaps the largest group of individu- 
als whose record-keeping and tax reporting is now 
subject to potentially disastrous provisions in the 
new tax code is the disparate community of 
freelance artists in this country. And, within this 
group, independent media artists encounter spe- 
cial problems when facing the IRS. [See my 
article, "Breaking the Code: The Impact of the 
New Tax Law," on page 18 of this issue for a dis- 
cussion of major changes in filing requirements 
affecting independent film- and videomakers.] 
Freelancers have not been silent about their fate at 
the hands of legislators, however, and Artists for 
Tax Equity, a recently formed coalition of artists 
organizations, intends to convince Congress to 
exempt freelance artists from the extraordinary 
tax burdens imposed by the 1986 Act. 

On January 22 representatives of the Associa- 
tion of Independent Video and Filmmakers, the 
Society of Illustrators, the Graphic Artists Guild, 
and the Foundation for the Community of Artists 
met at the offices of the Volunteer Lawyers for the 
Arts and announced their combined commitment 
to obtaining an exemption to the Uniform Capi- 
talization Rules — section 263 A of the tax code — 
on behalf of their members, as well as all other 
freelance artists. United under the umbrella Art- 
ists for Tax Equity — with the support of various 
arts organizations such as the Center for Arts 
Information, the New York Foundation for the 
Arts, and VLA — these groups will tap their 
members for assistance in a concerted lobbying 
effort, including financial support that will enable 
the coalition to hire a lobbyist in Washington. The 
first and most urgent undertaking of the group is 
influencing the content of the Technical Correc- 
tions Bill, which is due to be introduced in 
committees of both houses of Congress in Febru- 
ary. 

The Technical Corrections Bill now being 
prepared recapitulates attempts by the House 
Committee on the Budget and the Senate Finance 
Committee last fall to clarify some provisions in 
the 1986 tax act. Freelancers and sympathetic 
lawyers and accountants see this bill as an oppor- 



tunity to separate artists from other producers of 
cultural materials — publishers, film studios, rec- 
ord companies, and the like — in relation to the 
complex and burdensome accounting methods 
apparently mandated by the tax law. Some profes- 
sionals, however, believe that individual artists 
are not covered by the Uniform Capitalization 
Rules. In an article in the December 20, 1 987 New 
York Times accountant Ruben Gorewitz argued, 
"The inventory of an artist is composed solely of 
creative ideas" and thus exempt from 263A, 
which is based on the concept of inventory of 
tangible properties. Unfortunately, a footnote to 
the published Conference Committee Report on 
the Tax Reform Act specifies. "For this purpose 
[Uniform Capitalization], tangible property in- 
cludes film, sound recordings, video tapes, books, 
and other images, or sounds, by the creator 
thereof. Thus, for example, the uniform capitali- 
zation rules apply to the costs of producing a 
motion picture or researching or writing a book." 

A Technical Corrections Bill that addressed 
the plight of some freelance artists was approved 
by the appropriate congressional committees last 
fall but then abandoned during the elaborate and 
attenuated negotiations over the Budget Recon- 
ciliation Bill passed in late December. Prior to the 
demise of the Technical Corrections Bill, the 
Authors Guild and the American Society for 
Magazine Photographers had hired lobbyists and 
convinced key legislators to include their con- 
stituents in an exemption from 263A. The bill 
contained the language, "The bill provides that 
the uniform capitalization rules do not apply to 
any qualified expense paid or incurred by an 
individual engaged in the business of being a 
writer or photographer in connection with such 
business." Artists for Tax Equity plans to obtain a 
similar provision in the next round of Technical 
Corrections legislation, but one that would cover 
all freelance artists. For example, in one sug- 
gested amendment to 263A, VLA proposed an 
exemption for expenses paid or incurred by 
freelance, individual "authors," based on the defi- 
nition of "author" employed in U.S. copyright 
law that includes films and videotapes as "works 
of authorship." 

For independent film- and videomakers an 
additional difficulty in convincing legislators to 
support an exemption from 263 A results from the 
similarity between their work and that produced 
by film and television studios. The VLA amend- 
ment may provide sufficient differentiation, in so 
far as it would apply to "any individual if the 
personal efforts of such individual create (or may 
be reasonably expected to create) a literary, dra- 



matic, pictorial, sculptural, choreographic, musi- 
cal or other copyrightable work . . . ." (VLA ' s pro- 
posed language also exempts "qualified em- 
ployee-owners," that is, "any individual who is an 
an employee-owner of a corporation and who is an 
author, but only if substantially all of the stock of 
such corporation is owned by such individual and 
members of his family....") At an FIVF seminar 
on taxes in January, accountant Susan Lee sug- 
gested a working definition of "independent" 
based on production budgets, and a subsequent 
discussion of the newly formed AIVFTask Force 
on Tax Reform considered a similar ceiling that 
could be used as a criteria, in the range of 
$500,000 to $1 -million. 

The AIVF task force will coordinate its work 
with Artists for Tax Equity, with AIVF's execu- 
tive director Lawrence Sapadin representing 
AIVF members within the coalition. The task 
force has mailed a letter to AIVF members alert- 
ing them to the consequences of 263A and re- 
questing donations to support a lobbying cam- 
paign. AIVF has also contacted media arts centers 
and other independent media organizations to 
inform them about the harmful effects of Uniform 
Capitalization requirements on independent film 
and video production in this country. For more 
information about the mobilization to secure an 
exemption to 263A. contact Lawrence Sapadin, 
AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012; (212) 473-3400. Donations, which are 
deductible as a business expense, can be be sent to 
the same address; checks or money orders should 
be made out to AIVF Emergency Tax Equity 
Fund. 

[AIVF members Wade Black and Sara 
Hornbacher provided important documents and 
information about the effects of the 1986 Tax 
Reform Act on independent media artists; Volun- 
teer Lawyers for the Arts staff attorney Katherine 
Rowe and tax accountant Susan Lee supplied 
much of the precise information about the new 
regulations and their repercussions. I am grateful 
for this assistance, although all reponsibility for 
accuracy is mine.] 

MARTHA GEVER 

CONGRESS ASSESSES 
PUBLIC TELEVISION'S 
UNDERACHIEVEMENTS 

Public television recently turned 20. It was in 
November 1967 that Congress passed the Public 
Broadcasting Act. which created and initiated 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



Du Art Delivers 




Answer Prints 

That Talk 

Back 



When your film talks, we listen. To our 
technically advanced, Academy Award 
Winning Computer Timing System. 

Computer technology has enabled 
Du Art to deliver Answer Prints in the 
shortest possible time, with the least 
amount of handling. Automatically 
cued, corrections are made 
immediately, eliminating the 
need for notching or tabbing 
your original. All cueing and 
timing data is automatically coded 
on perforated tapes for use in printing. 

Our computers read and print all information with accuracy 
safeguards to prevent errors. So we don't handle your original to 
recheck or reprint. 

Timing corrections are made by using our computerized Print Cor- 
rector. Any scenes requiring timing corrections are located, automat- 
ically calculated and entered. A new cue-timing tape is generated 
to immediately deliver a new print. 

And, finally, all our Answer Prints are put through 
a special Liquid Gate Printing process for a 
cleaner and sharper end product. 

Because we understand your problems and care 
about your success, we deliver the best, every day. Because 
we listen when our Answer Prints talk. 
Du Art. We deliver the best Answer Prints. 




VIDEO 



< 

<1 



%o 



FILM 







Vo 



■» 



SOUND <4 



We also deliver valuable 
technical advice in free 
brochures prepared for 
our customers and 
friends. For your free 
copy please call the 
Sales Department at 
212-757-4580. 



DuArt Film 



DuArt Video 



Delivering Excellence For Over 60 Years 



Du Art Film Labs • 245 West 55th Street • New York, New York 10019 • 212-757-4580 
Du Art New England • 39 Chapel Street • Newton, Massachusetts 02158 • 617-969-0666 



federal funding for the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting. In the Carnegie Commission on the 
Future of Public Broadcasting's 1978 report, A 
Public Trust, the commissioners recommended 
that independent producers ought to be utilized 
within public broadcasting in order to help 
achieve the kind of innovative programming 
envisioned by the Commission. In November 
1987 independents were on Capitol Hill asking 
Congress to consider once again the potential 
value of independents to the system. The National 
Coalition of Public Broadcasting Producers pre- 
sented specific recommendations to two congres- 
sional subcommittees for the creation of a Na- 
tional Independent Program Service (NIPS), a 
separate entity that would fund, promote, and 
distribute independent work for public broadcast- 
ing. This new mechanism would help increase the 
diversity of programming sources and work 
against the trend towards public broadcasting's 
commercialization and politicization. The 
Coalition's goal is to have their recommendations 
incorporated in an amendment to the Public 
Broadcasting Act of 1967. 

The occasions for launching this proposal were 
the oversight hearings held by the Senate Com- 
merce, Science, and Transportation Committee's 
Communications Subcommittee on November 1 2 
and the House Energy and Commerce and Fi- 
nance Committee's Subcommittee on Telecom- 
munications on 1 8. These hearings were called on 
public broadcasting's twentieth anniversary to 
assess how well it had lived up to its original 
promise. Describing this promise, Edward 
Markey (D-Massachusetts), chair of the House 
subcommittee, recalled E.B. White's words to the 



Carnegie Commission two decades ago: "Non- 
commercial television should address itself to the 
ideal of excellence, not the idea of acceptability, 
which is what keeps commercial television from 
climbing the staircase. I think television should be 
the visual counterpart of the literary essay, should 
arouse our dreams, satisfy our hunger for beauty. 
It should be our Lyceum and our Chatauqua, our 
Minsky's and our Camelot." 

Included among the witnesses were independ- 
ent documentary producer Loni Ding, who ap- 
peared before the Senate subcommittee, and Eyes 
on the Prize executive producer Henry Hampton 
before the House. John Wicklein, a former CPB 
program officer, current director of the Kiplinger 
Midcareer Program in Public Affairs Reporting at 
Ohio State University and frequent critic of public 
television, also appeared before Markey's sub- 
committee. However, the witness lists at both 
hearings were dominated by industry heavy- 
weights, such as CPB chair Howard Gutin and 
president Donald Ledwig, PBS president Bruce 
Christensen, PBS board member Sharon Percy 
Rockefeller, and National Public Radio president 
Douglas Bennett. Called to testify about where 
public television now stands and where it is 
headed, these and other standard-bearers of public 
broadcasting came to the hearings with proud 
words of reassurance and self-congratulations. 
The system works, each declared in an opening 
statement, adding that it would work even better if 
Congress directed more money their way. 

But the subcommittee members did not intend 
these hearings to be simply a back-slapping anni- 
versary celebration nor a routine discussion of 
budget figures. Oversight hearings are often con- 



vened when Congress senses something is amiss. 
During these hearings, the subcommittee mem- 
bers were clearly more interested in public broad- 
castings' problems than its successes. "Why does 
public broadcasting generate so much criticism, 
particularly from its friends and supporters?" 
asked Markey. "Maybe the appropriate analogy is 
to a bright child with outstanding potential, but 
who consistently brings home Bs and Cs." These 
mediocre marks — hardly the level of excellence 
White had envisioned — were much on Markey's 
mind. He repeatedly referred to a number of 
recent critical articles that had appeared in such 
highly visible publications as TV Guide, the New 
York Times, and Harper's, and asked panelists to 
respond to accusations that public broadcasting 
perpetuated "the known, the safe, and the cheap," 
that stations managers are now regarding ratings 
as seriously as their commercial counterparts, that 
some public broadcasters feel programs like Bill 
Moyer' s series on the Constitution are too elitist to 
warrant a place in the program line-up, and so on. 
Public broadcasting's errant ways, as enumer- 
ated by the concerned but not unfriendly sub- 
committee members in their questions to the 
panelists, were not entirely due to the system's 
financial woes. Nor could they be remedied sim- 
ply by increasing appropriations, despite assur- 
ances to the contrary by industry representatives. 
The structural problems that emerged in the 
course of the hearings have been spelled out many 
times before — the politicization of CPB board 
appointments, increased commercialization, the 
resulting dominance of noncontroversial pro- 
gramming, the blurring of distinctions between 
public TV and its new competitors, such as cable 



CPB's Definition of an Independent Production 



Ourcriteria forjudging an independent produc- 
tion is as follows: 

A. The producer has no affiliation with a 
public or commercial broadcasting licensee 
which could exercise content or Fiscal control 
over the project. 

B, The producer has control over the budget 
and content of the production, subject to over- 
sight by CPB or its designee to satisfy the 
Corporation's mandate as stewards of federal 
funds, and to ensure that the production is 
consistent with the original proposal and meets 
the system's journalistic, artistic, and technical 
standards. 

By the first criterion we mean that with 
regard to the production under consideration, 
the individual or individuals not be full, part- 
time or per diem employees or freelance pro- 
ducers of public or commercial television li- 
censees. We realize that many independent 
producers may work either full or part-time for 
broadcast licensees as a means of supporting 
themselves but, to the extent that the employer 
exercises no control over the production being 



funded, we would exempt these relationships. We 
do not wish to see this definition preclude inde- 
pendents working through public television sta- 
tions as long as it is their choice and they maintain 
the necessary control over the production. 

By the second criterion, it is our intent to 
provide the maximum amount of freedom to the 
independent producer consistent with good busi- 
ness practice. CPB's designee, besides the Pro- 
gram Fund, could be PBS in the case of journalis- 
tic standards, an executive producer of one of the 
consortia, or an executive producer hired by CPB 
for a specific purpose. 

The amount of fiscal control exercised will be 
to ensure that the amount of money in the budget 
is justified, that it is spent in accordance with the 
agreement and for the items indicated in the 
budget, and that the appropriate rights are se- 
cured. 

We will wish to ensure that the finished pro- 
duction is suitable for air and that it conforms to 
the description in the contract It is not our intent 
to dictate the content or approach of a production 
but to ensure that the final work meets public 



broadcasting standards. Should there be an ir- 
reconcilable difference between CPB or its 
designee and the producer which requires a 
substantive change in the production, we would 
not consider it an independent production. As 
previously stated, some independent producers 
readily accept the guidance of an executive 
producer; some will consent to it only in an 
advisory capacity; and some may reject the idea 
entirely. Perhaps it should be left to the individ- 
ual independent producer to determine which 
relationship best satisfies his or her creative 
needs. There must be an element of good faith 
in this relationship. 

The definition described above is basically 
the one we are currently working under and it 
evolved from our experiences over the years. 

We feel that this definition satisfies the 
major points articulated by both the indepen- 
dent community and the public television sta- 
tions, but more importantly, will allow us to 
assure that the funds entrusted to CPB are well 
spent. 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 









3HL 



PRELINGER ASSOCIATES, INC. 
430 West 14th St., Room 403 
New York, N. Y. 10014 
(212) 255-8866 

David Loesch 
Richard Prelinger 



PETRIFIED FILMS, INC. 
430 West 14th St., Room 404 
New York, N. Y. 10014 
(212) 242-5461 or 807-8967 



Pierce Rafferty 
Margie Crimmins 
Marian Thatos 



Rob Cates 
Lori Cheatle 



Prelinger Associates, Inc. and Petrified Films, Inc. provide stock footage on film and videotape in all formats. 
Coverage extends from about 1915 to the present, totalling many thousands of hours, much of it in color. A signifi- 
cant (and growing) percentage of our footage is catalogued by computer. A library of over 300,000 historical and 
unusual still photographs, postcards and transparencies dating back to the teens is also available. 

Unlike many other commercial film libraries, we do not specialize in news footage, features or silent entertainment 
films. Rather, our libraries depict American life, culture, industry and institutions and encompass a wealth of "every- 
day" imagery not documented by newsreels or Hollywood films. Special strengths include vintage color footage 
dating from the 1930s on (much of it in 35mm or 16mm first-generation original form); educational and guidance 
films from all eras; promotional, advertising and commercial films; consumerism; the Cold War; industrial Ameri- 
cana and much unusual film material, practically all unused and unseen in recent years. We specialize in providing 
material suitable for incorporation into electronic video graphics and computerized effects. 

Recent acquisitions include a 35mm stock film library containing production-quality scenics, cityscapes and estab- 
lishing shots dating from 1920 to 1970. The collection covers the world and is especially strong in aviation, sports, 
roadside culture, history of Hollywood and Los Angeles, streets, homes, and vintage scenes of many cities, including 
New York, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. There are thousands of pin-registered "process plates" originally shot for 
feature films, ideal for video effects today. We also represent a large library of natural history footage in color which 
includes thousands of animals, birds, and fish. Coverage also includes the peoples of Africa, Asia, Europe, the 
Middle East, Mongolia, South America, the Arctic and the Soviet Union. 

If we do not have the material you are looking for, we will be pleased to refer you to other libraries or sources that 
may be able to assist you. 

PROCEDURES: Please call first to advise us of your needs. In most cases we can immediately tell you whether we 
have the footage you are seeking and, if we do, schedule a screening at our offices. If you are outside the New York 
area or unable to come to the library, we can prepare a "viewing cassette" for your examination. Once you have 
decided what you need, we will arrange to make film or videotape masters for you. Clients are asked to review and 
sign our standard delivery memo prior to any delivery of footage. 

RESEARCH FEES: We charge for time spent finding, selecting and screening footage; for time spent making 
viewing cassettes and in preparing film for the laboratory or for video transfer. Research charges are based on the 
complexity of the request and are computed at $25.00 per hour, with a minimum charge of $50.00 per project. These 
charges are not normally applied to usage fees unless quantity usage is negotiated with the library. We estimate 
research fees prior to commencing research and advise you of our estimate at that time. Until and unless any master 
film or tape materials are ordered, the research fees (and any shipping costs incurred) are your only expense. 

USAGE FEES: Clients are billed for a non-refundable minimum project fee upon shipment of broadcast quality 
tape or film masters. Usage fees are based upon the intended markets for the production, and are computed on the 
amount of footage actually used in the final cut. All minimum project fees are applied against the total usage fees 
due, and cannot be refunded in the event that the material is not used. DISCOUNTS FOR QUANTITY USAGE ARE 
NEGOTIABLE. 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 7 



Help Yourself. Join AIVF today! 




The Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers 



=DO YOU WANT TO= 

MAKE FILMS OR 
SIT IN A CLASSROOM? 



If you want to make films, our 
intensive, interdisciplinary 8-week 
summer program is for you. A special 
program in the radical art of 
filmmaking considered and prac- 
ticed as an avant-garde experi- 
mental enterprise. The poetics of 
film, the energy of narrative, the "art 
of vision" - these are the aesthetic 
considerations of this great modern 
art form. 



BE AN INDEPENDENT 
FILMMAKER 

Summer 1988 
June 27 -August 19 



Milton Avery 

Graduate School of the Arts 

BARD 

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504 
(914) 758-6822, x-183 




services that produce their own cultural and edu- 
cational shows and purchase others from public 
television, while public TV stations program 
Leave It to Beaver, The Lawrence Welk Show, and 
other low-cost commercial reruns. 

As Ding pointed out to the Senate subcommit- 
tee — the only witness there to "rain on their pic- 
nic," as she put it — "the steady march of public 
broadcasting [has been] away from its original 
mandate of public service, innovation, diversity, 
and toward proven formulas and market-driven 
programming that tends to safe uniformity." In 
measuring where broadcasting now stands and 
where it should be going, she continued, the 
bottom line is not the technology, the delivery 
system, or the financial problems, but the pro- 
gramming. 

In answer to the problem of market-driven 
programming. Ding summarized the proposal put 
forth by the National Coalition of Independent 
Public Broadcasting Producers for a National 
Independent Program Service [see "A Place of 
Our Own: Independents and the Future of Public 
Television," The Independent, August/Septem- 
ber 1987, p. 36]. The proposal calls for a new 
entity, with an autonomous board of directors, 
that would have "the unambiguous mandate to 
fund the production, acquisition, promotion, and 
distribution of programs produced by indepen- 
dent film and videomakers to public broadcasting 
and other markets." Intended to supplement the 
program mix now available to stations, NIPS 
"will help producers gain access to the national 
program schedule, help public broadcasting 
achieve its mandate to address the cultural plural- 
ity of our nation and reach out to new public 
television audiences." Ding also advocated regu- 
larized funding for the existing black, Hispanic. 
Asian, Pacific Islanders, and Native American 
consortia. 

During the House hearings. lohn Wicklein also 
advocated fundamental structural changes as 
opposed to a simple increase in appropriations for 
public broadcasting. He recommended doing 
away with presidential appointments to the CPB 
board and "the annual trek to the Hill" for appro- 
priations, both of which "practically guarantee 
that improper political influences. ..would be 
exerted on programming." In their place Wicklein 
proposed a sustained and politically insulated 
funding mechanism, such as the two percent li- 
cense transfer fee proposed by Senator Ernest 
Hollings last October, which would provide a 
steady source of funding for public broadcasting, 
and an independent public broadcasting institu- 
tion, "perhaps along the lines of the Smithsonian 
Institution." Wicklein also recognized the critical 
role of independents, recommending that half the 
funding should be dedicated to financing and 
distributing independently produced programs. 
During the question and answer period that fol- 
lowed the testimony, it was a Republican, Thomas 
Tauke from Iowa, who pursued the reasons be- 
hind public television's under-utilization of inde- 



pendents. In response Wicklein outlined the con- 
current decline of CPB dollars distributed directly 
to independent productions and the rise of funding 
for station consortia. In addition, he pointed to the 
more insidious problem of station managers' fear 
of offending subscribers with views contrary to 
their own. Programs in major series, such as 
Frontline or WonderWorks, that are produced by 
consortia of public television stations, explained 
Wicklein, "are considered to be safer.... I want 
responsibility, but not necessarily safety, because 
I think you need a wide range of opinions and 
issues discussed in public broadcasting." 

What made these hearings particularly signifi- 
cant for independent producers was not only the 
inclusion of the "contentious issue of independent 
producers in the system," as Markey character- 
ized it in his opening statement — although the 
mere fact that the utilization and concerns of 
independents made it onto the agenda of both 
Congressional subcommittees can be considered 
an important achievement. No less important is 
the national networking and organizing that went 
into the preparation for the hearings, which pro- 
duced several significant results. First, the Na- 
tional Coalition's educational and lobbying ef- 
forts have brought independent film and video 
producers from across the country together into a 
united front, allowing them to speak to Congress 
with the clarity of a single voice and with the force 
of numbers. Second, the Coalition was able to 
raise a substantial pool of money for lobbying and 
educational purposes from its grassroots base. 
And last, independents have now proposed a 
concrete alternative to public television's pro- 
gramming mechanism and independents' role 
within it. All of this represents a clear step forward 
from previous hearings, at which independents 
simply requested clarification and implementa- 
tion of language in a 1978 amendment to the 
Public Broadcasting Act that reserved a "substan- 
tial" portion of program dollars — over 50 percent, 
according to the bill's sponsor — for independ- 
ents. 

While Congress was clearly in the mood to 
examine the problems of public broadcasting, it 
remains to be seen whether and how they will act. 
Hollings' proposal for a license transfer fee — a 
subject that dominated the Senate subcommittee 
hearing — will undoubtedly remain the top Con- 
gressional priority within the area of public broad- 
casting during the next session [see "Sequels." 
January /February 1988]. As far as the related 
matter of independents and public broadcasting is 
concerned, Congress might press for an inter- 
industry resolution, as was worked out between 
the cable and broadcast industries regarding 
must-carry provisions, rather than take any legis- 
lative action. Nevertheless, the Coalition will 
continue to lobby for an amendment, which could 
be introduced anytime before or during the mark- 
up session following the reauthorization hearings 
for public broadcasting, tentatively scheduled for 
early spring. While no member of Congress has 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



SAVES THE DAY! 




For super-quality computer-timed dailies at the best price in town...SFL is your hero! 

We're a fully-equipped film lab with years of experience offering state-of-the-art 

services, such as liquid gate A&B answer prints... plus the kind of talk-to-the-timer 

personalized attention that you can't get from other labs at ANY price. 

CALL FOR THE COMPLETE SFL STORY... I CTT T"TYT/^\ I AND FIND OUT WHAT WE CAN SAVE YOU! 



STUDIO FILM LABS 321 WEST 44TH STREET 




NEW YORK NEW YORK 10036 • 212-582-5578 



yet agreed to sponsor a bill establishing a National 
Independent Program Service, the situation is 
fluid. The Coalition admittedly faces an uphill 
battle, but they are encouraged by the fact that 
Congress has listened to their criticisms and rec- 
ommendations. Further, in this decade the time 
has never been better to propose such changes to 
Congress, given the Democractic majority, the 
trend toward reversing the rampant deregulation 
of the early Reagan years, and the growing recog- 
nition that public broadcasting is becoming a loser 
when it choses to play by the rules of the market- 
place. As Ding told the subcommittee, "That 
direction has to be reversed, and it takes a real 
intervention to do so." If the Coalition succeeds in 
its efforts, public broadcasting's new priorities 
will include a true and equal partnership with 
independent producers. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

APPALSHOP'S 
PRODUCTION POOL 

Appalshop, the Kentucky-based media arts cen- 
ter, has launched a major drive to build a $2- 
million permanent endowment. Interest from the 
endowment will finance a production fund to 
provide matching dollars for film, video, radio, 
theater, recording, exhibition, and book projects. 
The campaign got a boost last October, when 
Appalshop was awarded a $400,000 challenge 
grant from the National Endowment for the Arts'. 
They hope to reach the $2-million mark by 1991. 
According to Appalshop's executive director Dee 
Davis, production funding is a particularly acute 
problem in Kentucky, where scarce state dollars 
are limited for media projects. 

Despite its relative geographic isolation from 
media metropolises, Appalshop has been able to 
generate significant activity in independent pro- 
duction. Early on they decided to bypass the 
conventional independent route of attempting to 
obtain airtime on the national Public Broadcast- 
ing Service, establishing instead a consortium of 
public TV stations in the region for regular car- 
riage of their programs. Currently, there are a 
dozen films and tapes in production out of the 
Appalshop facility, which is set in the rural coal 
mining community of Whitesburg, Kentucky. "It 
costs a lot to produce wherever you are," says 
Davis, "and production money is always the hard- 
est to raise." Therefore, Appalshop envisions the 
endowment as a stable source for production 
dollars. To raise it, they plan to take the show on 
the road, with a national campaign and to build a 
national audience for their programs. 

RENEETAJIMA 

AT THE (ALTERNATIVE) 
MOVIES 

Early 1988 may be remembered as the winter of 
the seven dollar movie ticket. But film audiences 



who resent rising prices at the commercial box 
office may find relief at alternative cinemas. 
Three longtime exhibitors of independent film 
and video, Philadelphia's Neighborhood Film/ 
Video Project, New York's Collective for Living 
Cinema, and the New York Shakespeare Festival/ 
Public Theater, have all reached new milestones 
this year. 

Last month the International House of Phila- 
delphia, home to the NF/VP, unveiled a newly 
renovated theater. Linda Blackaby, NF/VP's 
founder and director, has programmed indepen- 
dent works in the old Hopkinson Hall theater 
space since 1975. "But I realized early on, as did 
a lot of other people, that having a space that isn't 
'marginal' is what exhibitors really need," says 
Blackaby. For years NF/VP screened primarily in 
1 6mm, although they did have a set of World War 
II-era, portable 35mm, incandescent lamp projec- 
tors — stacked one on top of the other in a desk- 
sized projection booth, which required two people 
to operate. With renovations made possible by 
challenge grants from the National Endowment 
for the Arts, Pew Memorial Trust, and the Kresge 
Foundation, the new Hopkinson Hall has entered 
the world of twentieth century screening technol- 
ogy: an enlarged projection booth, new 1 6mm and 
35mm projectors, stage and sound equipment, 
chairs, lobby, and a handicapped access entrance. 
NF/VP is now trying to raise money for video 
projection and completion of the ticket booth. The 
1988 season kicked off in February with the 
premiere of Frida, Naturaleza Viva, by Mexican 
filmmaker Paul Leduc. 

It was only two years ago that the Collective for 
Living Cinema underwent a major housing crisis. 
A mainstay of alternative film screening in down- 
town New York City, the Collective confronted 
padlock orders and citations from two separate 
divisions of the city bureaucracy, and finally had 
to look for a new home. One was located right 
across the street, in a larger space, which the 
Collective renovated. And this year, program 
director Robin Dickie has announced that the 
Collective will now screen an unprecedented 
seven days a week, beginning with its first week- 
long run, the premiere of Rosa von Praunheim's 
Anita: Dances of Vice. The board of directors has 
formed a new programming committee to imple- 
ment the new expansion and is soliciting propos- 
als for special film series for the bigger and better 
Collective. 

Farther east in downtown Manhattan, another 
alternative exhibitor is celebrating its tenth anni- 
versary. The New York Shakespeare Festival's 
Film at the Public program has championed "sel- 
dom-seen films" from around the world since 
1978, under the direction of Fabiano Canosa and 
Stephen Soba. A wealth of programs — the Festi- 
val Latino of feature films from South America, 
the Caribbean and Spain, the annual Global Vil- 
lage Documentary Festival, free weekend film 
series, premieres and retrospectives — are 
screened in the 90-seat, Dolby-equipped theater 
where, according to Public Theater publicity. 



film-goers will be relieved to discover "the ticket 
price has remained at, and will stay, $5.00." 

RT 

CHANGING THE RULES 
AT NYSCA MEDIA 

Some New York media artists were surprised to 
learn about changes made in the media production 
category in the New York State Council on the 
Arts' revised guidelines for 1988-89. The Media 
Program's revision reads, "Cable TV and radio 
series consisting of original programs intended as 
a broadcast series will no longer be considered in 
this category. Projects that are undertaken by an 
organization where there is no artist identified as 
the creator should apply under the Exhibition, 
Distribution or Special Projects categories rather 
than under Production." Although confusing in its 
presentation, the revision does not mean that 
public access series, organizations, collectives, 
and other production groups that regularly apply 
for support from NYSCA are no longer eligible 
for production funding. According to the Media 
Program staff, production groups can still apply 
but will now compete with each other, not with 
production proposals evaluated by the Individual 
Artists Program. Individual artists projects are 
defined as a single artist or collaboration of artists 
who are creators and owners of their work. 

Program associate of the Media Program Jerry 
Lindahl explains that the new procedure for re- 
viewing production groups separately from indi- 
vidual artists came about because, as a whole, they 
had little in common with each other, outside the 
fact of production itself. In addition, some groups 
have been funded in the Individual Artists produc- 
tion category year after year, while single produc- 
ers have little chance of receiving repeated sup- 
port. To a great extent, the production groups fell 
between the cracks in the program's guidelines. 
Says Martha Wallner, a member of the Paper 
Tiger TV collective, the producers of a weekly 
public access cable series in New York, "We 
never felt quite comfortable under the Individual 
Artists Program. They'd say, 'You've already 
gotten money for a production.' But we're more 
than one project. We do training and work with 
public access advocacy. Even our budget is differ- 
ent. We do 20 shows for the price of one. But 
we're also not quite a media arts center either." 
Wallner hopes that the change in the guidelines 
signals a recognition of ongoing collective pro- 
duction. 

What is the difference between collective pro- 
duction and a collaboration? The new guidelines 
aren't that clear. A group of artists who work as a 
collective can still apply for Individual Artists 
production funds, if they meet the criteria of being 
artist-conceived, artist-owned projects. Lindahl 
recommends that anyone unsure of their status 
within the new guidelines call the Media Program 
and discuss their application with the staff. "We 
want to put a project wherever it'll get the best 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



hearing," says Lindahl, "where it will get the best 
chance at funding." 

RT 

KIM-GIBSON 
DEPARTS NYSCA 

On the tenth anniversary of her career as a public 
funder, Dai Sil Kim-Gibson has decided, "It's 
time for a change." The outgoing director of the 
Media Program at the New York State Council on 
the Arts resigned in January to "go home to Wash- 
ington, and read and write for a while." During her 
three years at NYSCA, Kim-Gibson encouraged 
reflection and new thinking in the program, tire- 
lessly soliciting feedback and ideas from the field. 
Previously, Kim-Gibson served as a program 
officer in the Media Program at the National 
Endowment for the Humanities, where she cham- 
pioned the work of numerous independents. 
When first hired at NYSCA, Kim-Gibson told 
The Independent, "I've always enjoyed working 
with independent producers — that's been a spe- 
cial joy for me. They are unafraid of taking risks, 
they are daring in their work, and they are sensi- 
tive to the plurality and diversity of society." 

RT 



ALAN MITOSKY: 
1934-1988 

Alan Mitosky, the founder and first director of the 
Short Film Showcase, died of lung cancer last 
January. He was 53 years old. "Alan was an artist, 
a sculptor, and his taste and discrimination shaped 
the sense of quality during the beginnings of Short 
Film Showcase," remembers longtime friend and 
colleague, Sol Horwitz, who succeeded Mitosky 
at SFS. "His aesthetic taste was marvelous. He 
gave it a solid backbone. People around the coun- 
try became more familiar with short film subjects 
as a result of the way he programmed and distrib- 
uted short films — good, short films." During his 
long career in the arts, Mitosky, formally trained 
in sculpture at the University of Pennsylvania and 
the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, served as 
curator of the Commercial Museum, and vice 
president of production for Madison Square Gar- 
den. At the time of his death, Mitosky was presi- 
dent and chief operating officer of CEL Video 
Services of New York. 

RT 



SEQUELS 

Predictably, the Fairness Doctrine became a 
political football during the budget summit in 
December ["Sequels," October 1987]. Attached 
to a catch-all spending bill largely through the 
persistent efforts of Senator Ernest Hollings, it 
was eliminated in the eleventh hour as advocates 



backed down before White House threats of a 
veto. Hollings has vowed to try again. 

□ 
However, the final spending bill retained lan- 
guage added at the last minute that reinstates the 
FCC s affirmative action rules giving preference 
to women and minorities in radio and tv station 
sales ["Threats to Affirmative Action in Broad- 
casting," April 1987]. 

□ 
On the cable regulation front, the latest and rela- 
tively lenient version of the FCC's must-carry 
rules were struck down by the U.S. Court of 
Appeals in Washington as violating cable opera- 
tors' first amendment rights ["Dawning Hopes 
and Sunsets for Must-Carry," June 1987]. The 
contested rules previously required cable systems 
to carry all local broadcast signals. The court, 
however, did not say that must-carry per se was 
unconstitutional, leaving the door open to yet an- 
other stab at revising the rules. 

□ 
The White House has selected a nominee to the 

Federal Communications Commission. Susan 
Wing, a D.C. attorney. Republican, and wife of 
former White House lobbyist M.B. Oglesby, was 
chosen to fill the seat vacated by Mimi Dawson, 
who left the FCC for the Department of Transpor- 
tation. 

□ 
Funding for the Corporation for Public Broad- 
casting has been set by Congress for fiscal year 
1990 at $232.65-million — up by approximately 
$4-million from 1989. 

□ 
A new film coordinator has stepped into place at 
the Boston Fine Arts Museum. Bo Smith, who 
served for six years as director of film/video 
performances and exhibitions at Film in the Cities 
in St. Paul, began his new job in January. Mean- 
while, Dan Minahan has taken over the job of 
video curator at the Kitchen in New York City. 

D 
Channel Four in Britain surprised industry ob- 
servers by hiring Michael Grade to replace chief 
executive Jeremy Isaacs ["The Half Open Door: 
Channel Four and Independent Production in the 
U.K.," October 1987]. Grade, formerly senior 
management at BBC-TV, at one time advocated 
the privatization of Channel Four, but has subse- 
quently stated his support for its current structure 
whereby advertising time on Channel Four is sold 
by the ITV companies. 

□ 
West African filmmakers predict that the assassi- 
nation of Burkina Faso president Thomas Sankara 
during a coup d'etat will seriously hurt their film 
industry. Sankara's support and policies had al- 
lowed Burkina to develop indigenous film pro- 
duction, distribution companies, and the major 
African film festival FESPACO ["FESPACO 
Forever," July 1987], 



•*«>/ 
<> 



.--SSSsS? 



o^ eS 












uses 



o\o< 



\YV3 C< 



S fe\aoc 



en^s- 






\sa 



toa^r^eis 



8 %^ <******** 



HftW* 8 " 



jBlOWJ 



Wt 







V8 w*** JW,Q ' 




MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



FIELD REPORT 



CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION: 
THE 1987 FLAHERTY FILM SEMINAR 




The Live Aid media 
extravaganza and 
television's other 
methods ot treating 
the subject of famine 
are analyzed in Nan 
Ziv and Freke Vuijst's 
Consuming Hunger. 

Courtesy Maryknoll World 
Productions 



Scott MacDonald 



I first became aware of the Robert Flaherty Film 
Seminar some years ago when I saw Jonas Mekas ' 
Lost Lost Lost. During the final reels of the film, 
Mekas reveals how the wounds he suffered as a 
result of being exiled from his native Lithuania 
have been healed — as fully, at least, as such trau- 
matic wounds can be — by his involvement in an 
aesthetic community within which his creativity 
and desire to take political action have found 
personal and artistic support. The central event of 
the final reel of that film is called "Flaherty 
Newsreel." It recounts an aesthetic "guerilla ac- 
tion" taken by Mekas, Tony Conrad, and Ken and 
Flo Jacobs in 1965: they travel to Vermont to 
attempt an invasion of the Flaherty Seminar on 
behalf of Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures and 
Ken Jacobs' Blonde Cobra. Not allowed into the 
seminar, they sleep outside in the cold night (a wry 
allusion to Flaherty's Nanook of the North) and 
the next morning commemorate their rejection 
with some ritual filmmaking. Since first seeing 
Lost Lost Lost, I have regularly heard about the 
Flaherty Seminar. From time to time, rumors of 
confrontations between filmmakers, critics, and 
audiences at the annual gathering have come to 



my attention. But, for a long time, I assumed that 
these gatherings were devoted to documentary 
filmmaking and that an invitation was necessary 
to attend. 

In fact, the Flaherty Seminars have been held 
annually since 1954 — three years after Flaherty's 
death — when Flaherty's widow. Frances Flaher- 
ty, invited a small group of filmmakers and stu- 
dents to the Flaherty farm in Dummerston, Ver- 
mont to look at Flaherty's films, and to discuss 
Flaherty's vision and their own work. Through 
1958 the seminars continued to be held at the 
Flaherty farm, and until 1957 they were admini- 
stered by the Robert Flaherty Foundation. In 1 960 
International Film Seminars was founded to take 
charge of the seminars, which from 1959 on have 
been held in a variety of locations, mostly in the 
Northeast, and for the past three years at Wells 
College in central New York State. While each 
Flaherty Seminar includes a number of invited 
guests, participation is open to the public. Alto- 
gether the seminar hosts around 100 participants: 
filmmakers, scholars and critics, exhibitors, dis- 
tributors, and interested people from other fields. 

The earliest seminars used Flaherty's films as 
a catalyst for discussing more recent develop- 
ments, but for the past 20 years screenings have 
included many types of documentary and avant- 



garde film as well. The list of filmmaker-guests 
who have visited the seminars comprises a who's 
who of contemporary cinema: Louis Malle. 
Satyajit Ray, Jean Rouch, Marcel Ophuls, Mi- 
chael Snow, Hans Richter, Jonas Mekas, Bruce 
Conner. Frederick Wiseman, Alain Tanner. Ag- 
nes Varda, Robert Gardner, and Trinh T. Minh-ha 
among them. Seminar events are programmed by 
distinguished independent exhibitors and schol- 
ars from around the country. Normally the pro- 
grammers arrange screenings and discussions 
morning, afternoon, and evening, for one week. 
Mid-week, a free morning allows participants to 
rest. 

The seminar is usually held in mid-to-late 
August, and I attended for the first time last 
summer. It was a powerful and strange experi- 
ence, no doubt due to my double status both as a 
regular, paying participant and as an informal 
representative for Peter Watkins' film The Jour- 
ney, which was programmed as part of the semi- 
nar. (I was coproducer of the sections of The 
Journey that were shot in upstate New York.) As 
a result, I cannot claim that the following account 
will be "objective" — although I doubt that term 
has much relevance at a Flaherty Seminar any- 
way, even if it does have meaning in other situ- 
ations. The experience of this, and I'm sure of any. 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



Flaherty Seminar was complex , but I am left with 
two general reactions: one has to do with the 
overall programming of this year's seminar, the 
other, with the way in which The Journey revealed 
crucial elements of the seminar's structure. 

□ □ □ 

One of the tragedies of recent film history is the 
failure of exhibitors to find ways of attracting 
audiences to a variety of filmic forms. As a result, 
it is easy to forget that film is not simply a subject 
or a set of cultural facts, but that it is an ongoing 
discourse within which noncommercial forms of 
cinema engage with commercial forms. For the 
most part, however, the recent history of film 
exhibition has been characterized by fixed cate- 
gories of presentation. There are theaters that 
show first-run commercial films, theaters in some 
cities that present foreign language commercial 
releases, a network of small screening rooms in a 
few cities and at some universities and art muse- 
ums that program avant-garde films, and here and 
there a museum which periodically focuses on 
animation, ethnographic documentary, or some 
other form. College teachers routinely accept this 
procedure, for the most part exposing students to 
carefully delineated types of cinema within any 
given course. 

This situation has become so normalized that 
we may forget that creative alternatives are pos- 
sible. From 1 925 to 1 939 the London Film Society 
(under the leadership of Iris Barry) regularly 
presented film programs that allowed audiences 
access to a very broad spectrum of cinema — 
science films, classic features, avant-garde 
works, animation, political documentaries. The 
London soc iety was the prototype for a network of 
film societies throughout Great Britain and Eu- 
rope. On this continent similar work was done by 
Amos Vogel, whose Cinema 16 presented eclec- 
tic, dialectically structured programs to surpris- 
ingly large audiences from 1947 to 1963. 

In recent years, there have been few opportuni- 
ties for film audiences to experience such variety. 
At the Flaherty Seminar, however, creative pro- 
gramming is not at all unusual, as demonstrated 
by Richard Herskowitz, the director of Cornell 
Cinema in Ithaca, New York, who served as this 
year's programmer. He approached the seminar, 
as previous programmers have, as an arena within 
which to develop a complex, energetic discourse. 
Like the monthly programs at Cinema 16, Her- 
skowitz' program can be regarded as a single, 
"edited" film, a "mega-film" that reveals his sense 
of some of the crucial recent developments in 
western cinema. (At one time, Herskowitz 
worked as Vogel' s teaching assistant, and as a 
special project he collected the Cinema 16 pro- 
grams and program notes.) 

Altogether, 25 films and 26 videotapes were 
screened. Herskowitz' selections were arranged 
so that several structural elements were pro- 
nounced. The most obvious and least important 
was the use of opening and concluding presenta- 



tions to "frame" the seminar. The first session on 
Sunday morning presented several videos to in- 
troduce a broad critique of mass media: Philip 
Mallory Jones' Ghosts and Demons and Contem- 
plation, Peer Bode's Animal Migrations, and 
Open the Box: Part of the Furniture, produced by 
Michael Jackson at Britain's Channel Four. These 
tapes and all the films and videos selected by 
Herskowitz exposed conventional media prac- 
tices and attempted to demonstrate, or suggest, 
progressive alternatives. That afternoon's session 
had an introductory quality as well. Herskowitz 
presented several animations: Hubert Sieleicki's 
Festival, Robert Ascher's Cycle, Emily Breer's 
Fluke and Spiral, and the Quay Brothers' Street of 
Crocodiles. Festival is a satire of the film festival 
experience, particularly of the types of human 
interaction Sieleicki sees as typical at festivals. 
Herskowitz' inclusion of the film at this point was 
a comment on the elaborate introduction of staff 
and participants which immediately preceded the 
screening, a Flaherty Seminar tradition. As a 
group, these films revealed a variety of ways in 
which animation can embody cultural elements 
not ordinarily the subjects of conventional anima- 
tion or of mainstream media in general. Accord- 
ing to Herskowitz, this grouping was partially "a 
response to previous Flaherty Seminars' use of 
animated films as 'shorts' that no one ever dis- 
cussed." Of course, the films' function as intro- 
ductory material was reminiscent of the once- 
standard practice of preceding feature presenta- 
tions with animated cartoons. The seminar con- 
cluded with David Daniels' Buzz Box and A 
Got pes de Corazon (Blows of the Heart), from 
Nicaragua's SSTV — two tapes also critical of 
commercial media: the first satirizes high-tech 
methods, and the second reveals potential alterna- 
tive uses of technology. 

The second structuring principle of the seminar 
was Herskowitz' decision to arrange the remain- 
ing sessions so that, like the animation program, 
the individual films in each session and the indi- 
vidual sessions, too, reverberated formally and 
fhematically with each other. On Monday morn- 
ing, for example, seminar participants saw Alfred 
Guzzetti's Beginning Pieces and Alan Berliner's 
The Family Album, followed by a discussion with 
the filmmakers. Such public exchanges with film- 
and videomakers are standard at Flaherty Semi- 
nars, as are informal talks during meals and other 
activities. In an essay he is writing for a Flaherty 
Programmer's Manual, Jack Churchill explains, 
"It is the [filmmaker] 'guests,' as much as anyone 
for whom we do the seminar. It is the guests' 
interaction with each other as well as with the 
participants that makes the experience exciting 
for them." In fact, according to Churchill, "A 
number of people have not only shown unfinished 
works, but have credited the seminar with helping 
them complete their pieces." 

Beginning Pieces uses cinema verite tech- 
niques to create a haunting account of Guzzetti's 
young daughter and her friends. The Family 



Album recycles portions of Berliner's collection 
of 1 6mm home movies and audiotapes to create a 
sense of how some American families created 
images of their lives during a 30-year period. The 
pairing of these films allowed viewers to contrast 
several different approaches to recording and 
interpreting family life: Guzzetti filmed his own 
material, in color and sync sound, whereas Ber- 
liner recut black and white found footage and 
developed a complex interplay between imagery 
and found sound. Both films, however, share a 
poignant sense of the process of aging, and both 
differ significantly from the conventional home 
movies that provided the raw material for 
Berliner's film. 

The Monday afternoon session featured De 
Peliculas, a film-in-progress by Pennee Bender, 
DeeDee Halleck. and Robert Summers and From 
the Pole to the Equator, by Italians Yervant Giani- 
kian and Angela Ricci Lucchi — two films that 
also reinterpret material recorded by others. In 
these two cases, however, these processes are 
used for obvious political purposes. De Peliculas 
attempts to expose the history of U.S. imperial 
exploitation in Central America, as revealed in 
Hollywood newsreels and dramatic films. From 
what I could tell, the inclusion of this one unfin- 
ished film was meant as a gesture of support for 
the filmmakers and as a potential forum that might 
facilitate completion of the film. From the Pole to 
the Equator restores and redefines footage shot by 
Luca Comerio. the first important Italian cinema- 
tographer (and a fascist who hoped to develop the 
kind of relationship with the Mussolini govern- 
ment that Leni Riefenstahl subsequently had with 
the Nazis). His turn-of-the-century footage of big 
game hunting and of cultures in Asia, the Near 
East, and Africa is both magnificent — especially 
as we see it rephotographed and hand-painted by 
Gianikian and Ricci Lucchi — and terrifying in its 
macho/imperialist implications. 

The political themes evident in the afternoon 
session were reconfirmed that evening in a video 
presentation of an episode from the widely-seen 
public television series The Africans, and again, 
during Tuesday's sessions. Tuesday began with a 
presentation of Miske-en, by Linda Karpell, and 
the first two sections of the three-part Consuming 
Hunger, by Ilan Ziv and Freke Vuijst. Ziv and 
Vuijst's expose of the media's condescending 
treatment and commercial marketing of starving 
Africans was nicely complemented by Karpell 's 
respectful meditation on an African village that is 
home to refugees from famine stricken areas. 
Following the discussion. Herskowitz presented 
Chris Shepard and Claude Sauvageot's With 
These Hands: How Women Feed Africa, a fasci- 
nating cross-cultural examination of women's 
struggle for recognition, respect, and opportunity 
in several African villages. The Tuesda) after- 
noon session paired two films that examine recent 
government violence in minority communities. 
The Bombing of Osage Avenue, produced by 
Louis Massiah. and the London-based Black 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



A malevolent doll seizes the 
puppet-protagonist in Street of 
Crocodiles, by the Brothers Quay. 
A feature-length selection of their 
films was among the animations 
included in the week-long 
Flaherty seminar. 

Courtesy Film Forum 

Audio Collective's Handsworth Songs. The day 
concluded with two more selections from Chan- 
nel Four, Darcus Howe's Bandung File: Haiti the 
Unfinished Revolution and Taken for a Ride: 
Right to Reply. In the first, the Haitian-British 
producer talks to native Haitians about their revo- 
lution. In the second, a representative of an Indian 
group responds to allegations made about them in 
a previous Channel Four program. 

Thursday was — as Su Friedrich later wrote in a 
letter to Herskowitz — "gay day." The morning's 
films were Friedrich's The Ties That Bind and 
Damned If You Don't, followed by Ron Peck's 
What Can I Do with a Male Nude. In The Ties That 
Bind Friedrich interviews her mother about her 
experiences as a young woman growing up in 
Germany in the 1930s. Damned If You Don' t uses 
the story of the seduction of a nun by another 
woman as a means of calling for a reappropriation 
of pleasure by feminist cinema. The afternoon 
session began with Marc Heustis and Wendy 
Dallas' Chuck Solomon: Coming of Age, a docu- 
mentary about Solomon's experiences with 
AIDS, and concluded with three tapes by John 
Greyson, The ADS Epidemic, The Kipling Tril- 
ogy, and Moscow Does Not Believe in Queers. 
This turned out to be one of the seminar's most 
controversial presentation because of Greyson's 
use of gay pornography clips, with some audience 
members protesting what they deemed his lack of 
commitment to safe sex. A noticeable number of 
seminar participants and staff simply absented 
themselves for the discussion with Greyson. On 
Thursday evening film historian Mark Langer 
introduced and led a discussion on the Flaherty- 
Murnau collaboration Tabu (according to Her- 
skowitz, Tabu is noted for its repressed gay con- 
tent). The day ended with a screening of 
Flaherty's Moana, an earlier South Seas fiction 
made with native islanders. 

The following morning's program centered on 
fiction experiments by accomplished documen- 
tarians. Deanna Kamiel's mini-documentary 
Mickey's Diner and her humorous narrative 
Maggie and the Men of Minnesota were paired 
with Stevenson Pa\f'\'s Don't Start Me toTalking. 
Friday ended with films by Pamela Yates — Who 
Are the Contras, Til Vote On, We're Not Gonna 
Take It — and Tami Gold's Prescription for 
Change (a collaboration with Lyn Goldfarb) and 
Looking for Love — Teenage Parents, made spe- 
cifically to aid particular groups in organizing 
social action. 

The third major element of Herskowitz' struc- 




tural design of the seminar was his decision to 
develop three distinct strands of film, video, and 
discussion woven in and out of the presentations. 
The first of these strands consisted of the Channel 
Four programming that peppered the week. Chan- 
nel Four broadcasts programs from a variety of 
sources: Street of Crocodiles and Consuming 
Hunger, for example, were commissioned from 
individuals; Bandung File and Open the Box are 
series produced by the channel; Handsworth 
Songs was made by a workshop collective and 
acquired by Channel Four; and Da Silva.Da Silva, 
an experimental narrative shown Wednesday af- 
ternoon, was produced by the group that makes 
Bandung File. As a motif, these Channel Four 
programs demonstrated the aesthetic and ethnic 
diversity possible when a broadcasting system 
supports independent work. At the same time, the 
conventional format, mood, and iconography of 
some of these shows raised interesting questions 
about the degree to which conventional structure 
negates innovative content. 

A selective retrospective of films by Dutch 
independent Johan Van Der Keuken formed an- 
other strand. Seven of his films were presented: 
The Reading Lesson (1973), Hermann Slobbel 
Blind Child 2 ( 1 966), A Film ForLucebert ( 1 967), 
Filmmaker' s Holiday (1974), The White Castle 
(1973), Time (1984), and The Way South (1981). 
Screened at various times throughout the week. 
Van Der Keuken's films were the subjects of two 
formal discussions, and Van Der Keuken was 
present throughout the seminar. Herskowitz' 
decision to focus on this filmmaker was, no doubt, 
a function of Van Der Keuken ' s tendency to move 
from one culture and subculture to another in 
cinematic forms that emphasize the ability of 
films, and a filmmaker's career, to bridge cultural 
gaps. Within the seminar program. Van Der 
Keuken's use of home movies and sequences 
from his earlier films in Filmmaker' s Holiday 
interfaced with The Family Album and Beginning 
Pieces, as well as with De Peliculas and From the 
Pole to the Equator. His interview with the imagi- 



native blind child Hermann Slobbe followed the 
animations. Like them. Van Der Keuken's live 
action film attempts to reveal invisible psychic 
and cultural realities. The Way South was pre- 
sented just before Gold's and Yates' organizing 
films, an appropriate choice since The Way South 
moves from one country to another (Holland, 
France, Italy, Egypt), focusing each time on 
people whose often painful experiences at the 
hands of governments have given them a special 
insight into the political culture of the nation 
where they're currently living — and, in many 
cases, the need for effective, organized social 
action. 

The third strand was Peter Watkins' 14-and-a 
half-hour The Journey, a film coordinated, di- 
rected, and edited by Watkins, but shot in collabo- 
ration with groups of people (most of them not 
professional filmmakers) in 12 countries: the U.S. 
(three locations, including the Mohawk Valley, 
not far from Wells College), Canada, Mexico, the 
Soviet Union, Germany, France, Norway, Scot- 
land, Mozambique, Australia, Japan, and Polyne- 
sia. Like Van Der Keuken's work, the 19 sections 
of The Journey were presented at various times 
during the first five days of the seminar, function- 
ing both as an addition to the seminar's broad 
exploration of media forms and as a way of 
developing useful thematic and formal intercon- 
nections with other presentations. For example. 
The Journey's continual assertion of the relation- 
ship between the international arms race and 
world hunger intersected with KarpeU's Miske- 
en, Vuijst and Ziv's Consuming Hunger, and 
Daniels' Buzz Box. Its extensive critique of the 
way in which the TV news handled the Mulroney- 
Reagan "Shamrock Summit" of 1985 comple- 
mented Consuming Hunger'sexpose of the media 
manipulation of starving people, as well as obser- 
vations voiced in Bandung File: Haiti the Unfin- 
ished Revolution and Open the Box. The 
Journey's, discussions with Polynesians about 
their troubled economy interfaced with Flaherty 
andMurnau's romantic Tabu. The Journey's use 
of extensive interviews with working-class 
people echoed Massiah's interviews with Phila- 
delphia residents in The Bombing of Osage 
Avenue, interviews with Chuck Solomon's 
friends in Chuck Solomon: Coming of Age, with 
the African women in With These Hands: How 
Women Feed Africa, and with the subjects of 
Gold's and Yates' films. Watkins' decision to 
move from country to country, to see the world as 
a single, interlocking set of social and economic 
systems recalled Van Der Keuken's travels from 
country to country in The Way South, Berliner's 
formal Everywhere at Once, and other film- 
makers' journeys outside their own cultures in 
other work presented during the seminar. 

All in all, Herskowitz' programming devel- 
oped a fascinating fabric of relationships which 
ultimately became so complex, so dense that the 
implications were only beginning to register at the 
end of the week. I know of no more remarkable 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



New from Scarecrow for TV Researchers 



SPECIAL EDITION: 
A Guide to Network Television Documentary 
Series and Special News Reports, 1955-1979 
Daniel Einstein 

1069 pp. 1987 86-6599 ISBN 0-8108-1898-1 $87.50 

This unique resource offers a comprehensive overview of 
the "golden age" of television journalism. 



SELECTED RADIO 

AND TELEVISION CRITICISM 

Anthony Slide, ed. 

213 pp. 1987 86-27891 ISBN 0-8108-1942-2 $19.50 

From the writer of more than 30 books on the history of 
popular entertainment, widely known as a researcher, 
writer, lecturer, and scholar. 



TELEVISION DRAMA SERIES 

PROGRAMMING: 

A Comprehensive Chronicle, 1982-1984 

Larry James Gianakos 

838 pp. 1987 85-30428 ISBN 0-8108-1876-0 $62.50 

Newest in Gianakos' acclaimed series, which now covers 
1947-1984. "... There is simply no other guide anywhere 
nearly as complete..." -communication booknotes 



THE HOUR OF TELEVISION: 
Critical Approaches 
N.D. Batra 

301 pp. illus. 1987 87-4315 ISBN 0-8108-1989-9 $29.50 

Looks at television phenomena humanistically and 
empirically. 



•write for our cinema /TV / radio / theater catalog- 



Scarecrow Press, Inc. 
P.O. Box 4167, Metuchen, NJ 08840 
201-548-8600 88-34 



SUMMER WORKSHOPS 

The Leading Summer School for Film and Video Professionals 



One- Week 

The Directors Workshop 

The Script Writing Workshops 

The Film Directors Master Class 

The Film Directing Workshop 

Acting Techniques for Directors 

The Film Acting Workshop 

Editing The Feature Film 

The Production Mgrs./Assistant 

Directors Workshop 

The Sound Recording Workshop 



Master Classes 
The Camera Workshop 
Lighting & Cinematography 
The Steadicam Workshops 
Corporate Video Production 
Electronic Cinematography 
Film Lighting for Video Production 
The Video Editing Workshop 
The TV Commercial Workshop 
The TV Hard News Workshop 
The TV News Feature Workshop 



Great wrap parties with lobster! 
The Workshops offer 50 one- and two-week professional classes each Summer taught by the industry's leading directors, producers, 
cinematographers, camera operators, actors, and technicians - many who have won Oscars. Courses run June 1 through August 15, 1988. 

Write or call for your free copy of our 40-page catalogue 

The Maine Film & Television 

WORKSHOPS 



Rockport, Maine 04856 



(207) 236-8581 



These programs supported by ARRIFLEX, KODAK & Panavlslon Additional suppon from Cinema Products. ROSCO. Tiffen, OSRAM, Lowel, Matthews, Sachller, O'Connor, and Paniher 



m 



■n 



■ 



■ 



The Suffolk County 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 

presents 



SUFFOLK 

COUNTY 

FILM & VIDEO 

COMPETITION 

Call for Entries 

for 

1988 




Entry Forms: 

SUFFOLK COUNTY 

MOTION PICTURE/ TV 

COMMISSION 

Office of Economic Development 

Dennison Building 

Veterans Memorial Highway 

Hauppauge, New York 11788 

516-360-4800 



ELECTRONIC^ 
ARTS '< 
INTERMIX 

Post-production for 
ortists ond independents 
' since 1971 

OFF-LINE, CUTS ONLY 
EDITING WITH TBC AND 
CHARACTER GENERATOR 

—RATES 

INDEPENDENTS $25/hr. 

NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. $35/hr. 
COMMERCIAL $50/hr. 

(212)47^6822 



J 



oasis 

Video Postproduction 
Services for Independents 

Logging Systems Design 

Off-Line Editing 

and 

Audio Mixing 

Edit List Creation 

On-Line Planning 

and 
Edit Production 

All Formats 



For Serious VHS Works 

FINE EDIT VHS SYSTEM 

with Hi-Fi Sound 

and 

VHS Dubs 

from 3A", VHS, Beta I, 8mm 

(212) S75-2A77 



instance of creative programming in recent years. 
I heard a complaint that the seminar was "over- 
programmed," that there were too many films and 
not enough time for discussion. But, for me, the 
discourse o/the films was far more useful than the 
group discussions about the films, which in many 
cases I found rather predictable. 

□ □ □ 

T nevitably, the process of a Flaherty Seminar, or 
of any intensive week-long conference, produces 
emotional hills and valleys. From the point of 
view of the audience as a collective entity there are 
sure to be programming triumphs and disasters, 
"hot" and "cold" discussions. A group dynamic 
will always occur in such situations: friendliness 
and excitement reign at first, but as the seminar 
wears on and people reveal their ideological col- 
ors (and as their mannerisms become familiar) 
clashes are inevitable. In some cases, these 
clashes provide productive bases for understand- 
ing; in others, they establish barriers that remain 
for the duration of the event. At times, group 
process overcomes individual dynamics and cre- 
ates a temporary "group mood." Early in the week 
someone mentioned to me that "on one evening, 
every year, somebody always gets it" from the 
group. I have no way of knowing whether such a 
statement is accurate, but I remembered the 
comment on Wednesday evening when The Jour- 
ney "got it." 

The question and answer session lasted for 
more than two hours. Legitimate concerns were 
raised, and. for the most part, these were the same 
questions raised in connection with other films at 
the seminar: some thought that The Journey's 
focus on conventional families (mother, father, 
children) was adulatory and nonrepresentative; 
others voiced concern that Watkins' narration 
represented a traditional, paternal, implicitly 
imperialist voice; some were concerned that 
Watkins had badgered his interviewees; and some 
complained that the film was too repetitive. From 
my vantage point as one of eight representatives 
of the film facing the audience, the discomfort of 
this session came not from the questions asked but 
from the almost palpable anger expressed by 
some and repeated during the following days 
when negative comments about Watkins and The 
Journey were used to compliment other films. 
Interestingly, the anger engendered by The 
Journey's, length and its slow, relentless pace 
revealed dimensions of the Flaherty Seminar that 
the other films at the seminar did not. 

On one level, the seminar is the epitome of a 
progressive institution. One would be hard- 
pressed to find a group of people more alert to 
world problems and the ways in which the media 
have positioned themselves in regard to these 
problems. But. like most institutions, the seminar 
can be said to be conservative. Those of us who 
pay to attend (and perhaps the invited guests, as 
well) think of it as a pleasant kind of work, a way 
to energize ourselves, form some useful net- 
works, and keep abreast of our professional fields. 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



Peter Watkins (with 
microphone) and 
collaborators shooting a 
section of The Journey in 
upstate New York. The 
14-and-a-half-hour film 
was screened in its 
entirety at the Flaherty 
Film Seminar. 

Photo: Sylvia de Swaan 



But if aliens — or members of another social 
class — were to drop from the sky and observe the 
proceedings, my guess is that they'd have diffi- 
culty understanding how what we were doing 
would qualify as "work." 

Flaherty days begin with an impressive break- 
fast bar (the quality of food served at Wells was 
generally excellent, the best "institutional food" I 
remember), followed by films and tapes chosen 
specifically to interest us and discussions with 
affable, thoughtful colleagues, followed by a 
delicious lunch, more screenings and discussion, 
followed by an excellent dinner (complete with a 
choice of imported beers), followed by more 
screenings and discussion and, at the end of each 
day, by an informal party. We know we are seeing 
some of the best new film and video works avail- 
able — before almost anyone else has a chance to 
see them. We are able to hang out with the direc- 
tors and producers. And to top it off, these events 
take place in a beautiful setting, on the banks of 
Cayuga Lake, which offers a refreshing respite 
from cinematic pleasures during the day and late 
at night. 

More fundamental to the Flaherty Seminar 
than the selections of a particular programmer is 
its rigorous schedule. What happens within the 
week is carefully regulated so that the basic 
rhythm of meals, screenings, discussion never 
falters. In other words, although the political 
views of those who attend the seminar are differ- 
ent from those implied in an hour of commercial 
TV, or at a business convention, the structuring of 
time at the seminar is maintained to ensure maxi- 
mum opportunities for consumption (of film, of 
food, of interesting conversation) in a physical 
and ideological setting in which liberal guilt is 
minimized. Ultimately, the effect of this 
schedule's tyranny is an implicit affirmation of 
the status quo, the same status quo confirmed by 
the rigorously controlled time structures of the 
popular media, schools, and nearly all other insti- 
tutions. 

The Journey is, and means to be, an interven- 
tion into the time structures of contemporary 
culture. In Watkins' view, the global situation is 
deteriorating, and, therefore, all complacency 
must be confronted, including the "well-earned" 
complacency of those (including Watkins) in 
deepest sympathy with the people whose lives are 
directly affected by this deterioration. I'd guess 




that Watkins and the thousands of people around 
the world who contributed to his experiment in 
international collaboration would be delighted 
with the work screened at the seminar. The point 
of The Journey is not to compete with these fine 
films, but to open up a new communicative and 
conceptual space where we can consider, more 
fully than we normally do, whether even these 
films will be able to slow the commodifying 
tendencies of modern culture and the expanding 
arms race that "protects" these tendencies — once 
they are fed into the carefully controlled time 
structures of contemporary media institutions. 

My guess is that the seminar participants' an- 
noyance with The Journey was not so different 
from the annoyance of my beginning film stu- 
dents when I confront them with a single-shot 
Larry Gottheim film, Michael Snow's Wave- 
length, orChantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman. . .. 
They attend my course for pleasure (or pleasur- 
able enlightenment), never dreaming that the 
psychic rhythms they've developed for maximiz- 
ing pleasure and the consumption of information 
will be challenged and questioned. (I don't mean 
to be patronizing. I've experienced such annoy- 
ance regularly all my life.) 

Thanks to Herskowitz and the filmmakers 
whose work he programmed, those of us who 
attended this year's Flaherty Seminar became 
more aware of some of the problems contempo- 
rary media artists encounter and better able to 
critique the films and tapes that attempt to reveal 
these problems. But our increased awareness was 
achieved in a physical/temporal setting which 
may implicitly discourage our willingness to 
ameliorate these problems. That this is the case is 
suggested by the fact that despite widespread 
outrage among us about the refusal of the Public 
Broadcasting Service to air Heustis and Dallas' 
Chuck Solomon: Coming of Age, and despite 
interest expressed in sending a letter on behalf of 
the Flaherty Seminar to protest this outrage, no 
letter was ever written, signed, or sent by the 
seminar. We were too busy critiquing the next 
film. 



Scott MacDonald is a teacher and writer whose 
articles on alternative cinema and interviews with 
filmmakers regularly appear in Film Quarterly. 
Afterimage, and elsewhere. 











K C C 




Ml 


AUDIO/VIDEO 


HARMON Y,5v«. -accordance, 
concord, concurrence, unison, 
understanding. 

WE KNOW HOW TO 
WORK WITH YOU. 

CMX ON-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM to 1" 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM PRODUCTION 

21' X 54' SOUND STAGE 

Contact Terri 
(212)228-3063 

31 BOND STREET N.Y., N.Y. 10012 






We have what 
you want... 

the competitive edge on insurance 
programs for the entertainment & 
communication industries. 




Get to know us 1 



DIR.REIFF 

& ASSOCIATES 



Insurance Specialists 

Conlocl Denn.i Reifl 

221 West 57 Street N Y N Y 10019 (212)603-02311 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



LEGAL BRIEF 



BREAKING THE CODE: 

THE IMPACT OF THE NEW TAX LAW 



Martha Gever 



[Author's note: This article is presented only for 
the purpose of educating independent film- and 
videomakers and is not to be taken as financial or 
legal advice.] 

With the deadline for filing income tax returns for 
1987 at hand, the full weight of certain provisions 
in the so-called Tax Reform Act, passed by Con- 
gress in 1 986, will soon fall on all freelance artists. 
Most of the relevant changes in the tax code are 
contained in the section on Uniform Capitaliza- 
tion Rules, otherwise known as section 263A, 
which redefines entire categories of deductions 
that film and video professionals have relied 
upon. On January 6. the Foundation for Independ- 
ent Video and Film sponsored a seminar where 
accountants Susan Lee and Cecil Feldman out- 
lined aspects of the federal income tax code that 
affect independent film- and videomakers. Unfor- 
tunately, as both accountants repeatedly stressed, 
the IRS regulations governing Uniform Capitali- 
zation are insufficient at present, and the IRS is 
not expected to issue more complete guidelines in 
time for filing 1987 tax returns. This article sum- 
marizes Lee and Feldman's commentary on the 
Uniform Capitalization Rules and related issues, 
and what follows should be interpreted in light of 
their warnings that uncertainty may reign for 
some time in the realm of the new tax code. For an 
overview of the 1986 tax act and its various 
repercussions, see "Stress Factors: Understand- 
ing the New Tax Law," by Berenice Reynaud, The 
Independent, March 1987, pp. 8-13. For a discus- 
sion of tax requirements for not-for-profit corpo- 
rations, see "Commercial Breaks: Profits, Non- 
profits. Taxes," by Paula R. Schaap, The Inde- 
pendent, October 1985, pp. 14-15. And for a 
report on organized efforts to exempt independent 
film- and videomakers from the Uniform Capi- 
talization Rules, see "Artists Act to Reform Tax 
Reform Act," on page four of this issue. 

□ □ □ 

"The theory behind 263 A," Susan Lee explained, 
"is that you should not deduct expenses for things 
you haven't sold." In other words, the cost of film 
stock for a project cannot be deducted unless the 
project has made money, whether in the form of a 
grant or income from distribution. The more pro- 
found effect of Uniform Capitalization, however, 
is that now indirect costs, overhead expenses, 
must be assigned to specific projects and, like 



other expenses, may only be deducted from in- 
come from those projects. The costs of office 
supplies entailed in writing a script that may 
eventually garner some income as a completed 
film or tape, for example, cannot be deducted as a 
business expense until that film or tape generates 
income. Previously, overhead costs for maintain- 
ing a freelance business could be deducted from 
income from other paid work, such as teaching, 
but now these costs must be allocated project-by- 
project and can only be deducted accordingly. 
Furthermore, the IRS now requires that separate 
records be kept for each project. 

Production costs for motion pictures have been 
covered by capitalization requirements since 
1976, Lee pointed out, and she described the 
income forecast accounting method that has been 
used to calculate deductions for film and video 
projects. Income forecast means that the expenses 
of producing a film must be deducted over the life 
of the income stream of the film. Lee outlined the 
formula used to calculate deductible costs using 
income forecast: 



present year 

income 

x project costs 

projected (direct wA 

lncome indirect) 



current year 
deduction 



The new tax code says that "income forecast is 
repealed," Lee noted. But, because the precise 
requirements of Uniform Capitalization have not 
yet been spelled out by the IRS, Lee said that 
income forecast may still be the appropriate 
method for film- and videomakers. Although the 
exact amount of income forecast for a particular 
project is always speculative, she counselled 
producers to project a profit, but not a very big 
one. "If you're wrong," she said, "you can adjust 
your wrong estimate a few years down the road." 
For those who have used the income forecast 
method to calculate their taxes, an additional 
accounting morass has been created by the re- 
quirement that indirect costs deducted in the past 
for ongoing projects now must be allocated to 
those projects, and the deductions taken for those 
costs must be repaid retroactively over the next 
four years. For those who have not used the 
income forecast method to expense the costs of 
their film or video projects, the scenario is even 
more bleak. They will now have to recapture both 
direct and indirect costs for those projects that 
have not been abandoned. "I know that some of 
you have been taking losses, and those losses are 



going to have to be recaptured because those 
losses were taken in regard to projects that have 
not completed their income stream," Lee com- 
mented, adding, "The accounting burden for this 
is enormous." She mentioned that the only costs 
not subject to the Uniform Capitalization Rule are 
marketing, selling, advertising, and distribution 
expenses. 

An additional set of questions concerning the 
new tax law relates to the two accounting methods 
used for business records: cash and accrual. "The 
cash method is keeping records according to when 
you get it and when you spend it. Accrual is when 
you bill it and when you get billed," Lee ex- 
plained. Film- and videomakers must now take 
notice of the difference because "Uniform Capi- 
talization has converted a whole class of assets 
into something called inventory. And all inven- 
tory has to be accounted for using an accrual 
method." (For example, a videotape made 10 
years ago that is still in active distribution is 
considered an asset and now also must be counted 
as part of the videomaker's inventory.) Her guess 
is that calculations of income forecasts for most 
independent film- and videomakers using the 
cash method hardly differ from those done with 
the accrual method. And, Lee cautioned, "If you 
switch from cash to accrual, you can't switch back 
without permission from the IRS." According to 
the January 20 edition of the Wall Street Journal, 
the fee for accounting method changes can be up 
to SI 50. 

With a few reservations, Lee also said that a 
film or tape that has produced and will produce no 
income can still be abandoned — declared " worth- 
less" — and the cost of the work deducted. "I 
believe that you can take the deduction if there's 
no income and if you can overcome the offensive- 
ness of declaring your film worthless," she stated. 
This tactic, she readily pointed out, functions as a 
red flag and may precipitate an audit. The IRS can 
demand proof that the work has no possibility of 
producing income in the future, that it was avail- 
able, and that the producer has a reasonable expla- 
nation of why the work will not produce further, 
if any, income. She added that a worthless deduc- 
tion can only be taken if the income forecast 
method is applied and cautioned that nothing in 
263A explicitly allows deductions for work that 
has been abandoned. 

Lee and Feldman also noted other changes in 
the tax code that independent media artists should 
be aware of: no more tax shelters, no more invest- 
ment tax credits, and a new ruling that says a 
freelance business must make a profit three years 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



out of five, instead of two out of five as in the past. 
The latter may be not be iron clad, Lee said, citing 
previous exceptions that recognized an artist's 
professional status despite the absence of any 
profit. Finally, Lee pointed out that certain inde- 
pendent film- and videomakers may firmly be- 
lieve that the Uniform Capitalization Rules do not 
apply to their particular circumstances. If that is 
the case, she advised that they include a note to 
that effect with their tax returns in order to try to 
prevent negligence penalties levied by the IRS. 

While Feldman's participation in the seminar 
concentrated on various categories of deductible 
expenses common among freelancers — home 
office, travel, entertainment, etc. — he also made 
several observations about Uniform Capitaliza- 
tion. "The IRS is trying to fit the round peg of 
freelance work into the square hole of industrial 
accounting methods, and the accounting cost for 
freelancers is prohibitive. In order to get Congress 
to recognize this, there's going to have to be a wail 
of protest against 263 A." 



MEMBER DISCOUNTS 

AIVF is pleased to announce a discount 
program of film ansd video production 
services for its members. The companies 
listed below will offer discounts to AIVF 
members upon presentation of a 
membership card. We hope that this 
program will foster closer cooperation 
between independent producers & com- 
panies that provide production services. 

Techicolor Inc., East Coast Division 
Nick Alberti, VP Sales 

321 W. 44th St.. New York, NY 10036 
(212)582-7310 

Negotiable discounts on services 
including processing, answer prints & 
release prints for 16mm & 35mm color 
films. 

National Video Industries, Inc. 
Carol VanderDussen/Jay Levine, 
Operations Directors 

15 W. 17th St., New York, NY 
(212)691-1300 

Negotiable discounts on studio 
production facilities, remote production 
packages, postproduction & screening 
facilities, transfer & duplication, Package 
deals available. 

TVC Labs 

Roseann Schaeffer, VP Sales 

311 W. 43rd St., New York, NY 10036 
(212)397-8600 

Negotiable discounts on services. 



AIVF would like to thank these companies for 
participating. Other firms wishing to be 
included should contact Ethan Young, AIVF 
Membership Services, (212) 473-3400. 



Super 8 

can look like 

16 mm 

on 

Videotape 

with our 

Transfer System 

Rank Cintel, BM 2100, S 8 Transfers 

Low Rates 
Highest Quality 

S8, 8, 16 mm & Slides 

Transferred to 

All Video Formats 

Slo-mo, freeze frame avail, in 8. 

LANDYVISION 

400 E. 83 St. 

New York, N.Y. 10028 

(212) 734-1402 



K C C 



££ 



SKILLFUL,S)>«.-able, adept, 
clever,competent, expert, 
ingenious, practiced, proficient. 

WE KNOW HOW TO 
WORK WITH YOU. 



CMX ON-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM to 1" 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM PRODUCTION 

21" X 54' SOUND STAGE 



Contact Terri 
(212)228-3063 

31 BOND STREET N.Y., N.Y. 10012 



Video Duplication 

3/4" U-matic & 1/2" VHS or Beta II Copies 



FROM ONE 20 MINUTES 
MASTER 3/4" 1/2" 



30 MINUTES 60 MINUTES 1/2" VHS/BETA II 
3/4" 1/2" 3/4" 1/2" 90 MIN. 120 MIN. 



One Copy S4.00 $4.00 


$6.00 $5.00 


$9.00 $8.00 


$1 1.00 


$14.00 


2-4 Copies 3.50 3.00 


5.50 4.50 


8.00 6.00 


8.00 


9.00 


<i-9 Copies 3.00 2.50 


4.50 3.50 


7.00 5.00 


7.00 


8.00 


10-24 Copies 2.50 2.00 


4.00 3.00 


6.00 4.50 


6.00 


7.00 


PRICES. NOT INCLUDING STOCK. ARE PER COPY. 


ASSEMBLY CHARGES ARE 


ADDITIONAL. 



EQUIPMENT: 3/4" Sony, 1/2" Panasonic 2 ch. industrial recorders and Grass 
Valley & Videotek distributors. Time base correction, optional, with Microtime 
and Tektronix equipment. 

3/4" EDITING - PER HOUR, DAY or WEEK 

RM 440/5800-5859 - $20/HR. 
/5800-2860A - $15/HR. 
24 Hour Access Available 



(212)475-7884 

814 BROADWAY 
NEW YORK, NY 10003 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



SLEUTH 



THE SEARCH FOR TELEVISION NEWS FOOTAGE 





Freedom Riders John 
Lewis and Jim Zwerg 
after being beaten by 
a mob in 
Montgomery, 
Alabama in 1961. 
From "Ain't Scared of 
Your Jails: 1960-1961," 
in Biackside, Inc.'s 
Civil Rights series, 
Eyes on the Prize. 

Photo: Nashville Tennessean 



Patricia Thomson 



When Turner Home Video Entertainment and MPI Home Video both 
released half-inch videotapes of highlights from Lieutenant Colonel Oliver 
North's testimony in the Iran-contra hearings, producer Ernie Urvater had 
had enough. Thinking that "unadulterated Ollie North testimony was more 
propaganda for Ollie North," Urvater set out to produce a documentary that 
examined the hearings in a critical fashion. He planned to hold a debate on 
one of the college campuses in Amherst, Massachusetts, using a panel of 
scholars who would analyze segments of the testimony. The whole process 
would be recorded, televised, and cassettes sold to the educational market. 
But Urvater's plan never got off the ground. The stumbling block was 
obtaining footage from the Congressional hearings. Urvater approached the 
half dozen news organizations that taped the hearings and was either bluntly 
told the footage was not for sale or found that the licensing fees far exceeded 
his means — between $9,000 to $1 8,000 for 10 minutes. "Generally, there's 
no access of independent producers to the news of our country," Urvater 
concluded. "In a democratic society, one can freely quote the news from the 
New York Times. Can documentary film- or videomakers freely quote from 
the video record of the news? The answer is no. That is privately owned," 
says Urvater, "and owned with a vengeance." 

Independents have not been the only ones to chafe at the degree of control 
retained by news organizations over their "property." In a well-known 
copyright infringement case brought by CBS against the Television News 



Archives at Vanderbilt University in 1973, Vanderbilt argued fervently for 
the right to maintain a video record of the three networks ' nightly newscasts 
for use by researchers and scholars. Such unlikely allies as Patrick 
Buchanan and other conservatives rallied to their cause. The nonprofit 
archive felt they provided an important public service, particularly since 
CBS, NBC, and ABC not only had no news libraries accessible to the public 
at that time, but also they kept no copies whatsoever of whole newscasts. In 
a motion to the court Vanderbilt argued, 

Claim of copyright.. .cannot stand because of the free speech and free press clauses 
of the First Amendment.... The speech presented on the CBS Evening News with 
Walter Cronkite is not merely the speech of CBS or of Walter Cronkite; it is the speech 
of Presidents, senators, congressmen, governors, and other citizens — speech which 
exercises a vital influence on the lives of all Americans, and which is. indeed, "the 
essence of self-government." 

The U.S. district court never ruled on CBS v. Vanderbilt. CBS dropped 
the case when Tennessee Senator Howard Baker succeeded in including 
language in the revised copyright law of 1976 permitting libraries and 
archives to reproduce and distribute audiovisual news programs for re- 
search purposes. Still, a decision in Vanderbilt's favor would not have 
altered the basic fact that news programs are the property of new organiza- 
tions. While news — like ideas, theories, and historical incidents — cannot be 
copyrighted, news stories — that is, a print or broadcast news organization's 
presentation of a news event — can be . The networks have done so regularly 
since the mid-1970s, and most local stations have followed suit. Therefore 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



The 188-hour Army-McCarthy hearings, broadcast 

by CBS in 1954, became the raw material for Emile 

de Antonio and Daniel Talbot's Point of Order! 

Courtesy New Yorker Films 



any independent film or video producer wanting access to TV news images 
must obtain permission from the organization itself or an archive that 
licenses television and theatrical rights for the collections it holds. (Many 
institutions housing copyrighted television news programs, such as the 
Museum of Broadcasting and the National Archives, make them available 
for viewing only.) While taping off-air is of course technically feasible, 
legally this is permitted only in circumstances covered by the "fair use" 
clause of the 1976 Copyrights Act. This limitation on copyright protection 
allows restricted use of copyrighted material without permission for "criti- 
cism, comment, news, reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for 
classroom use), scholarship, or research." Although few disputes over "fair 
use" of broadcast news actually have been tried in court, television news 
organizations have demonstrated a strong protective instinct towards their 
material and have threatened and, in some cases, filed suit against those who 
use it without permission. 

But, as Urvater discovered, the license fees charged by the major 
television news archives — CBS News Archive, NBC News Video Archive, 
and Sherman Grinberg Film Libraries (which handles all sales for ABC 
News, and lists U.S. Pathe and Paramount Newsreels among their othercol- 
lections) — are hefty and can fast empty an independent producer's pocket. 
"I went into Grinberg and choked," says Jacki Ochs, who was seeking 
archival footage for Vietnam: The Secret Agent. Besides hourly fees for 
using the facilities, librarian services, and the duplication costs, there are the 
licensing fees: per minute, they ordinarily run $ 1 ,500-$2,700 for theatrical 
rights, 5540-1,440 for public television, and $600-1,440 for home video. 

Network footage may be exactly what's needed in a given production, in 
which case one generally must pay the price. But for many, the networks and 
their archives aren't the only game in town. Prior to the networks were the 
newsreel companies. They remain an important historical source for pro- 
ducers and researchers, who often turn to two of the largest newsreel houses, 
Fox Movietone News (portions of its collection has been moved to the 
University of South Carolina) and Hearst Metrotone News (which in recent 
years donated most of its holdings to the University of California, Los 
Angeles Film and Television Archives). Other newsreel collections can be 
found both in public nonprofit libraries, such as Universal News housed in 
the National Archives, and in commerical libraries, such as the Kinogram 
Newsreel and Telenews collections held by John E. Allen, Inc. and the 
British Pathe collection owned by Worldwide Television News. 

Researchers pursuing more recent footage of national and international 
stories who are also seeking an alternative to the network archives can turn 
to other news organizations, such as Worldwide Television News (formerly 
United Press International Television News) and Christian Science Monitor 
Broadcast Services, which syndicate their news stories to independent 
broadcast stations and cable program services. While the Christian Science 
Monitor has only recently begun to develop a system for saving and 
licensing their television news clips, WTN has extensive holdings in 
domestic material from the mid-sixties to late-seventies and in international 
news from the seventies on. Given the resources of their London and New 
York offices combined, some researchers consider WTN on a level just 
below the majors. 

Yet another option is footage from local television news organizations. 
Whether because of lower costs or the greater likelihood of finding unique 
images and in-depth coverage, archives of local television news are becom- 
ing an attractive alternative source, particularly as they have grown more 
plentiful over the past several years. For a variety of reasons, more TV news 
footage is moving from private to public hands. In an interesting reversal of 
today's trend towards the privatization of information, many local televi- 




sion stations are turning their old news film and, occasionally, tape over to 
historical societies, universities, and public libraries. 



□ □ 



C 



Much news footage — both network and local TV — has been irretrievably 
lost, especially that from the early years of broadcasting. The networks 
started saving and indexing their footage before most of the local stations, 
however, so their archives are currently top-of-the-line. CBS, NBC, and 
Sherman Grinberg are better organized, better catalogued, and have more 
systematic procedures for use, licensing, and payment. But for the first 20 
years of television news, none of the networks had film libraries per se, even 
for internal use. It took even longer for them to recognize that outsiders 
might want access to their old news film. When Emile de Antonio and 
Daniel Talbot asked CBS in 1961 for footage from the 1954 Army- 
McCarthy hearings. "They thought we were a little strange," says Talbot. 
But, he recalls, once the network realized the producers were "not just some 
middle-aged hippies" and "heard the jingle of money," they sat down to talk. 

De Antonio and Talbot were planning to use the footage to make Point 
of Order! (1964), a feature-length distillation of the 188-hour hearings. In 
the first round CBS flatly turned them down. According to de Antonio, the 
president of CBS News said, "No way you can have that footage. Why raise 
that up? There's nothing wrong with McCarthy." The idea was later 
resurrected when CBS News installed a new president who said they'd be 
willing to sell the footage after all. But then they couldn't find it. It was only 
after a friend of de Antonio's who worked at CBS spent some time sleuthing 
that the film was located in their New Jersey storage facility. The next 
question CBS had to address was who should handle the sales of rights to 
their footage. They sent de Antonio and Talbot to the vice president in 
charge of subsidiary rights, who, along a CBS lawyer, negotiated what the 
producers still considers a tough deal: $50,000 for the entire 1 88 hours, plus 
50 percent of all profits. 

Now there are fairly standard procedures for obtaining footage from the 
networks, which generally do not involve senior vice presidents or news 
presidents. On walking through the door, one pays a research fee to access 
the card catalogue or computer index. Screening time is booked at an hourly 
rate. Users are charged the lab duplication costs and, when ordering a 
master, pay for the rights up front. Upon completion of the production, a 
finished copy is sent with an estimate of the footage actually used to 
determine the final cost. Licensing fees are normally fixed. Discounts can 
be negotiated only when a producer buys in quantity or walks in the door and 
immediately guarantees a minimum purchase of a determined number of 
minutes and will pay on the spot. To place themselves in a position to 
negotiate, some producers give preference to one of the majors, always 
going there first and, when the subject allows, buying the bulk ot footage 
from them. This both increases the chances of a quantity discount and 
establishes a relationship that is more conducive to negotiations. 

The state of television news archives at the local level ranges from the 
sublime to the ridiculous. Collections can be reasonably complete and 
catalogued on computer tiles, or (hey can resemble the far reaches ol a 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 




family basement — dusty, disorganized, long ignored piles of cardboard 
boxes tucked away in a back corner. Not uncommonly, hundreds of bits of 
film, each representing a 10-30 second story identified only by date or 
maybe a two word tag-line, are thrown into a single film can. Occasionally 
a script might also be included. Archivist George Talbot, whose State 
Historical Society of Wisconsin has received several TV news collections, 
cautions. "Calling TV stations' collections of news footage "archives' is in 
many cases a misnomer. They were simply the old footage." Whether old 
footage is stored or thrown away tends to be an informal decision at most 
stations. A station's policy can also vary over time, often depending on how 
conscious of history the news director then on staff happens to be. As Talbot 
explains. "If there was a change in management or a change in revenues at 
the station, the first thing to suffer was the organization of the film archives. 
So you get successions of organizational systems. And if you're lucky, 
they've got the information about how they work. If you're not, they may 
have part of the system but they don't have the film organized that way, or 
they may have lost the log books." Adding to the confusion are the 
overlapping successions of formats used by the. stations over the years: 
1 6mm film, two-inch and one-inch reel-to-reel, three-quarte- inch cassettes, 
and, most recently, Betacam. 

This presents a mixed blessing to public institutions receiving donated 
news footage. On one hand, the material is clearly a valuable resource and 
historical record worth preserving. On the other, the recipient is often ill- 
equipped to handle the material without the various pieces of equipment 
needed for viewing and lacks the personnel and money to inventory, 
catalogue, and preserve the footage. The problem is particularly acute for 
those institutions that become a moving picture archive overnight. Few will 



Volunteers from the North come to Mississippi in 
1964 to organize black voters and teach in black 
schools. Among the major resources for Eyes on the 
Prize were collections in the Mississippi Department 
of Archives and History. 

Photo: Ken Thompson 

turn a donation down, but many are forced to leave the footage as is for an 
indefinite period of time. 

The reasons why more television stations are turning their news footage 
over to public institutions are more practical than philanthropic. One 
primary reason is limited storage space. Another major factor is the switch 
from film to videotape in the late 1970s. Over time, employees with the 
expertise to deal with earlier formats leave the stations, equipment falls into 
disuse and disrepair, and the old footage becomes more of a burden than an 
active resource. Consequently, many of the donations to public archives in 
the past five years or so have been collections consisting of these older 
formats. The relationship between donor stations and public archives rarely 
involves an ongoing deposit of material. 

A third factor is the opportunity for tax deductions — an enticement that 
may eventually result in a significant change in how thoroughly stations 
catalogue their collections prior to donation. Possibly setting a precedent for 
other local stations, WSB in Atlanta financed the 10,000 hours of work 
required to prepare a computer index of their collection, which comprises 
nearly three million feet of film and represents almost all of the film shot by 
WSB since they signed on in 1 948 as the South's first television station. The 
collection and index will be donated to the University of Georgia. Since the 
index will be complete at the time of donation, the value of the gift 
substantially increases. If the IRS approves this method of appraisal, the 
WSB-University of Georgia arrangement may result in similar cataloguing 
efforts by other TV stations. 

The general impression among archivists is that the number of television 
news archives in public institutions has increased over the past several 
years, although no one knows precisely how many exist. There are, 
however, several lists of moving picture archives currently being compiled. 
Richard Prelinger, who runs a commercial film archive in New York City, 
Prelinger Associates, is preparing Footage '88: North American Film and 
Video Sources for publication this spring. This 600-page directory and 
reference book will contain descriptive articles on all the major TV news 
archives among the 1 ,000 or so collections covered. In researching the book, 
Prelinger originally thought there might be about 500 archives nationwide. 



The War at Home, by Glenn Silber and Barry 
Alexander Brown, relies heavily on footage 
from local news stations to show how 
Madison, Wisconsin, once a "hotbed of 
lethargy," was transformed by the anti- 
Vietnam War movement. 



Courtesy filmmakers 




22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



Mark Kitchell (seated second from left) gathered 

this team of volunteers to sort through millions of 

feet of TV news film for Berkeley in the Sixties. 



Courtesy filmmaker 



but has since located 1 ,500 in corporations, religious institutions, historical 
societies, and elsewhere. Prelinger predicts the number will grow higher 
still. Laurie Kahn-Leavitt made contact with many out-of-the-way sources 
in the South when working as a senior researcher for Eyes on the Prize, the 
public television series on the Civil Rights Movement produced by Henry 
Hampton's Blackside, Inc. Kahn-Leavitt is now organizing an archival 
database on film, video, audio, and photo collections for WGBH-Boston, 
mainly for use by independent producers making programs for The Ameri- 
can Experience, an upcoming documentary series on U.S. history. She also 
believes there are thousands of such archives. Bonnie G. Rowan's Scholar's 
Guide to Washington, DC, Film and Video Collections lists several 
hundred collections in Washington alone, ranging from the major public 
domain archives to such commonly overlooked sources as the AFL-CIO, 
the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and foreign embassies. 

Hard numbers aside, the growth of television news archives is reflected 
in the membership of the Film Archives Advisory Committee and Televi- 
sion Archives Advisory Committee (FAAC/TAAC). Responding to the 
needs of this emerging field, FAAC/TAAC organized the first conference 
specifically on local television news archives, which was convened last fall 
by the the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and the American Film 
Institute's National Center for Film and Video Preservation. It drew nearly 
70 representatives, who discussed common issues and problems ranging 
from off-air taping to a national cataloguing standard. 

Though generally not as well equipped or catalogued as the majors, local 
television news archives offer certain advantages. Foremost among these is 
that licensing fees are generally much lower. Sometimes footage is even 
free, but in such instances there are likely to be conditions imposed on the 
users by the donors. That was the case with a collection given to the 
Mississippi Department of Archives and History, which became a major 
source for Eyes on the Prize. The donor permitted free licensing — but only 
for educational use. This was a double-edged sword. Their hands were tied 
when they prepared to market the series for home video. "After four months 
we were able- — through the Mississippi Attorney General's office — to get 
them to allow us to distribute Eyes on the Prize on home video. But it was 
a real close call," says Kenn Rabin, who has acted as consultant for historical 
footage on Eyes on the Prize, as well as Vietnam: A Television History, 
Crisis in Central America, The American Experience, and other PBS series. 
"It's great when you're making a documentary for PBS, but you trip over 
it when you want to take that documentary and distribute it theatrically," 
adds Rabin. Since archives often house collections from various sources, 
and each might have different stipulations concerning its use, producers 
should check precisely what these restrictions are. 

The case of Eyes on the Prize also points to a second advantage offered 
by local archives — the uniqueness and extent of footage pertaining to local 
events. Mississippi's wealth of material on James Meredith, the White 
Citizens Council groups, and other central players and events came to the 
attention of Eyes' researchers fairly late, after money had been spent at the 
majors for similar footage. Nonetheless, they opted to use Mississippi's 
material. In Rabin's view, the local news stations' material was markedly 
superior: "They were still shooting after the networks went home, and they 
tended to be more in depth." While this decision involved some delays and 
the loss of their initial investment, "it was more than worth it," according to 
Rabin. "Last-minute finds like this can be financially dangerous, but they 
are usually the inspiration that allows the film to take a quantum leap 
upward." 

When dealing directly with local television stations, producers find that 
the attitudes toward licensing to outsiders vary as widely as the conditions 




of their old footage. The stations may be intractable in their refusal. Or they 
may give footage away, as did Dayton's independent station WKEF when 
several students from Wright State University wanted to make a short film 
about local "spot" news. According to Tim Ballou, who produced // // 
Bleeds, It Leads ( 1 985 ) with John Adkin and Steve Bognar, "Being students 
had a lot to do with getting access. The station probably didn't think it was 
a big deal; we were 'just kids.'" Also useful in getting a foot in the door was 
their production teacher, who also happened to be a WKEFcamera operator. 
As is often the case, a sympathetic insider can make the difference. 

Furthermore, usually there is much more room for negotiating licensing 
arrangements with local stations or archives than at the majors. In some 
cases, producers may find that theirs is the first contract drawn up for such 
purposes, which can put them in a better bargaining position. A few 
producers have struck deals in which they have turned the disorganized state 
of the collections to their advantage, while the archives also derive benefits: 
in exchange for the archive providing rights to the footage for free, the 
producer agrees to index the collection. An early example of this kind of 
trade is The War at Home (1976), by Glenn Silber and Barry Alexander 
Brown. This feature film chronicles the growth of the anti-Vietnam War 
movement by looking at the microcosm of the University of Wisconsin. It 
traces the college town's transformation between 1963 to 1973 from a 
"hotbed of lethargy" to a virtual war-zone, where tear gas, barricades, 
armored police, and riots filled the streets, culminating in the bombing of the 
Army Mathematics Research Center and the death of one man working 
there. In detailing the radicalization of the student body and local commu- 
nity, the filmmakers relied heavily on news footage from Madison. 
Wisconsin's four TV stations. 

The project probably would never have gotten anywhere had it not been 
for the foresight of a local news director, Blake Kellogg, who worked at the 
CBS affiliate throughout the 1960s and realized the importance of these 
events. When leaving the station in 1970, he turned hundreds of thousands 
of feet of old news film — and all rights — over to the State Historical 
Society. "He did it for all the right reasons," says Brown. "He had a broad 
perspective. The station had a minute-to-minute perspective. They didn't 
understand what he was doing. But he felt his station was more than just a 
money machine." While gladly accepting the gift, the State Historical 
Society hadn't the resources to properly inventory orcatalogue the footage. 
So it sat in a vault, practically unusable. Six years later, Glenn Silber had 
lunch with George Talbot. Silber, a student at the University of Wisconsin 
in the early seventies, had returned to make a documentary on the anti-war 
movement and was wondering what archival material the State Historical 
Society had. First Talbot told him about Kellogg's donation, then made a 
proposition: Silber could have first exclusive access, with no restrictions on 
rights — and he could have it for free. In exchange, Silber would go through 
every box and every frame, organize and log the material, and repair the 
splices. Silber accepted, and hired Brown to undertake the work. Brown 
estimates that it took him and an assistant two years of full-time work to 
index the footage. 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



Meanwhile Silber had gotten the Wisconsin Education Television inter- 
ested in presenting the film. They offered a grant, contingent upon proof of 
access to the proposed resources. The filmmakers' search for documenta- 
tion, which led them back to the donor station, almost proved to be the film's 
undoing, for it triggered a debate about whether the station had relinquished 
its rights — a question the station's new owners challenged. "Ironically," 
says Silber, "the head of the Wisconsin Educational Television Network 
had been general manger of the station that gave us all the footage. But the 
people he hired to replace himself told him, 'No.' They didn't want their 
footage used in any anthem to the anti-war years." It was the State Attorney 
General who ultimately broke the stalemate, determining that, because the 
original owners had taken a tax write-off and because the station had 
subsequently changed hands, the news film was no longer the station's to 
give or withhold. 

Silber and Brown then set out to talk the other Madison stations into 
donating their news film from the period to the historical society and 
agreeing to a similar deal. After long negotiations and with the help of local 
businessmen who knew the station executives, they overcame the stations' 
suspicions. The involvement of the Wisconsin Education Television "was 
always the key," says Silber. "We had the state behind us. It wasn't just two 
hustlers trying to make a lot of money." Being able to point out the benefit 
to the stations' tax returns also aided their argument. 

Mark Kitchell, a producer who talked several San Francisco stations into 
a similar exchange, points out that this kind of bargaining works best when 
dealing with older footage, which is more likely to be poorly catalogued. In 
seeking archival footage for his three-part, three-hour film, Berkeley in the 
Sixties. Kitchell first concentrated on setting up a logging-for-free-access 
trade with KRON, where he found a strong ally in film librarian Guy 
Morrison. Morrison happened to be from Madison, knew The War at Home, 
and was enthusiastic about Kitchell's comparable, although more expan- 
sive, project. The agreement with KRON subsequently served as the basis 
for convincing the other San Francisco stations to adopt a similar arrange- 
ment. 

But at KPIX Kitchell ran into the kind of snags that can happen when a 
film production stretches out longer than the tenure of a station contact. The 
film went into production several years after Kitchell and the news director, 
a Berkeley graduate, worked out their agreement. By the time Kitchell went 
to get the footage, the news director had moved and all the station's old news 
film was on the verge of being discarded. Luck intervened, however, when 
a historian from Wells Fargo stepped in and said that his company, in a 
philanthropic gesture, would pay to have the film stored. Kitchell then had 
access to nearly 700 boxes of film as they were en route from KPIX to the 
San Francisco State Archive. Logging this material was no mean feat. 
Unlike KRON 's film, these news stories had no dates, no tag lines, no rough 
index in the can — just coded story numbers. Morrison, who headed 
Kitchell's research team, eventually broke the code, thereby allowing 300 
boxes of film related to the 1950s and sixties to be pulled. Kitchell rounded 
up a team of 20 volunteers, who went through every box and created a four- 
volume selective log of KPIX news stories. 

Like many archival films Berkeley in the Sixties, The War at Home, and 
Eyes on the Prize primarily utilize TV footage shot on location. The scarcity 
of correspondents' stand-ups or anchors' news readings in such productions 
is largely due to TV news organizations' policy never to license footage with 
their talents' face or voice. Exceptions to this rule are infrequent. At the 
networks, special waivers "depend on how a piece will be used, and the 
significance of the correspondent to the subject," says Neil Waldman of 
CBS News Archives. He cites Walter Cronkite on the Vietnam War or space 
flights — subjects with which Cronkite has become publicly associated — as 
plausible examples. In Kenn Rabin's experience, such requests are gener- 
ally sent to the vice president of the news division. "I've gotten waivers, but 
they are few and far between, and usually for important reasons. It takes a 
lot of work, and it helps to have some clout." 

On a local level, however, it is possible to negotiate directly with the 
talent. This was Robert Epstein and Richard Schmiechen's tactic when 



making The Times of Harvey Milk (1984). Their film uses local news 
footage to show key historical moments — such as Dianne Feinstein's 
announcement that San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor 
Milk had been murdered — and to illustrate how the media reacted to Milk, 
San Francisco's first openly gay elected official. For the on-the-spot stand- 
ups that punctuate the film, Epstein and Schmiechen approached each 
individual reporter. None were particularly interested in payment, but some 
voiced concerns about having their image "twisted." Assuaging their fears 
"took a fair amount of talk, and in a few cases letting them see the rough cut," 
says Schmiechen. The reluctant few were coaxed along by one of the 
correspondents who was also interviewed for the film. In addition to these 
direct discussions, the filmmakers also had to go through American Federa- 
tion of Television and Radio Announcers, the bargaining agent for on-air 
talent. AFTRA wanted the minimum: $200-$300 per correspondent. "It's 
not minimal when you're an independent," observes Schmiechen, who 
eventually arranged a deal for deferred payment. 

In general, Epstein and Schmiechen found the stations reluctant to deal 
with them. Although they went to very same stations as Kitchell, Epstein 
and Schmiechen were seeking a different category of footage — more 
recent, and already well catalogued. The stations needed no favors. "They 
really didn't want to give out footage. Basically, they don't want to be 
bothered," says Schmiechen. "Their libraries are there to provide footage 
for the news. Selling footage wouldn't be a big enough business to justify 
having somebody else in there." Nonetheless, the filmmakers persisted until 
they obtained contracts from all the local stations. They were helped by their 
subject. "We had the right issue, because the people at the stations loved 
Harvey Milk. He was wonderful for them and for San Francisco television. 
They wanted to help the project because there was a certain sentimental 
attachment, and they thought it was of value." 

As Schmiechen and other producers point out, the search for archival 
footage of news events should not end with TV stations and archives. 
Among the resources for historic material that proved important for The 
War at Home, Harvey Milk, and Berkeley in the Sixties were other independ- 
ent video- and filmmakers. For Eyes on the Prize much valuable TV news 
footage was found tucked away in obscure storage spaces. In general, 
tracking down such material requires some basic detective skills and leg- 
work, and getting it often tests one's powers of persuasion. Kahn-Leavitt 
located material for Eyes on the Prize "in people's attics and basements, in 
small southern stations, in the back rooms of small production companies, 
and in politicians' closets." She remembers, "I found widows sitting on vast 
quantities of stuff their husbands had photographed. They had no idea what 
it was worth and were very reluctant to have it leave their houses, because 
they thought they'd never see it again — and I was a stranger." In addition, 
Kahn-Leavitt called all the southern television stations. "Most of them were 
a bust. They'd thrown the stuff out ages ago. But in a couple of cases, I hit 
pay dirt." 

□ □ □ 

Many producers have obtained television news footage simply by taping 
off-air, without getting or even asking for rights. And some producers take 
footage on principle. In a brochure accompanying their situationist 
videotape Call It Sleep (1982), Isaac Cronin andTerrel Seltzer express their 
disdain for "manageable dissent" and challenge those who ask whether 
copyright clearance for the television images in their video was obtained: 
"These 'courageous souls' think that a disrespect for cultural and social 
conventions should begin after property rights have been observed. No 
doubt many of these people have already produced or dream of producing 
an artifact which they want protected by the state." While many producers 
have no qualms about taking news and other off-air material without 
permission, opinions can suddenly change when contemplating the unli- 
censed use of material from other independent producers' work. Likewise, 
the same producers who ignore a corporation's copyright are often careful 
to copyright their own productions. "Independents are constantly forced 
into ethical choices on the basis of budgets," says Robert Spencer, to whom 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



WABC gave footage for his Six O' Clock and All's Well (1980), a behind- 
the-scenes look at news production. Independents' "situational ethics," as 
Spencer calls it, are further complicated by a hazy understanding of the 
legality of their options. 

"Fair use" in particular is an oft-cited but little understood clause in the 
copyright law that many independents regard as a legal loophole. But this 
is a risky presumption because there is only a scanty court record on fair use 
of broadcast journalism. "I'd love to go to court on that one," says de 
Antonio. "The networks don't own the public history of the United States." 
In fact de Antonio anticipated a challenge over Millhouse (1971). The 
television footage for this film on Richard Nixon was literally stolen from 
one of the networks, not just appropriated. An anonymous caller offered it 
to de Antonio for free, and then at the filmmaker's instructions, left the 



hundreds of containers at a film lab in the middle of the night. While de 
Antonio was audited by the Internal Revenue Service, possibly prompted by 
the Nixon Administration, the network never said anything. "How could 
they? Nobody could prove where it came from," the filmmaker observes. 
According to the copyright statute, in order to determine whether 
something falls under fair use, four factors must be taken into consideration: 
" 1 ) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a 
commercial nature or is for nonprofit education purposes; 2) the nature of 
the copyrighted material; 3) the amount and substantiality of the portion 
used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and 4) the effect of use 
upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work." The law 
says that the fair use "doctrine is equitable and is so flexible as virtually to 
defy definition." Because each case is decided on its own merits, the fair use 



ARCHIVISTS' AGENDA FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA 



At the annual Film Archives Advisory Committee/Television Archives 
Advisory Committee (FAAC/TAAC) meeting in New York City in mid- 
November a special session was organized to discuss film and video 
preservation specifically related to the work of experimental and inde- 
pendent artists. Given the recent discussions in the pages of The Inde- 
pendent concerning the role of the archives in establishing a cinematic 
canon and the flurry of film laboratory closings affecting independent 
producers, this issue was placed on the agenda of FAAC/TAAC none too 
soon. [See "The Good, the Bad, the Forgettable," by Edward Ball, March 
1987, "Letters," by the author and response by Ball, June 1987, and 
"Going Out of Business: The Decline of New York Film Labs," by Quynh 
Thai, August/September 1987.] 

FAAC/TAAC was born over 15 years ago as an informal meeting of 
representatives from the major film archives — the Library of Congress, 
the Museum of Modern Art, the George Eastman House, and the 
University of California, Los Angeles Film and Television Archives — in 
order to coordinate their efforts to preserve nitrate film. Other problems, 
such as funding for film preservation by the National Endowment for the 
Arts, new archiving, and preservation technologies, as well as other 
issues of mutual concern, have also been discussed at the organization's 
biannual meetings. About five years ago, FAAC/TAAC expanded its 
membership as a number of non-nitrate holding archives, for example, 
Anthology Film Archives and the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater 
Research, joined the group. Then a number of universities and state 
historical societies, which had acquired large collections of local televi- 
sion news materials, began attending. As a result, the recent meeting in 
New York City, hosted by ABC Television, included over 50 participat- 
ing organizations from as far away as Hawaii and as close as the Lincoln 
Center Dance Film Collection across the street. Topics discussed at the 
three-day meeting included the state of stock shot libraries, copyright 
laws, fundraising by nonprofit archives, Internal Revenue Service ap- 
praisals of film and video donations, and the preservation of independent 
film and video. 

Speaking to the last point, Bruce Jenkins, film curator at the Walker 
Arts Center in Minneapolis, opened the discussion by stating that it was 
high time that U.S. film/video archives coordinate their efforts to pre- 
serve the work of independent artists, especially since much experimen- 
tal work (on video) from the 1960s has apparently already been lost. 
Jenkins outlined four major areas of concern: avant-garde work, regional 
films. New American Cinema, and work of the foreign avant-garde. 
Jenkins further stated that the Walker had already begun collecting New 
American Cinema and hopes to continue to do so. 

Mary Lea Bandy, director of the Museum of Modern Art Film Depart- 
ment, noted that archives had to be concerned with two separate issues. 



preservation and exhibition. She added that while most filmmakers 
might be induced to place a projection print on permanent loan, it will be 
more difficult to secure preprint material, so that storing projection 
positives in an archive's controlled environment might be a desirable 
first step. Jon Gartenberg, assistant curator at MoMA, commented that 
not only experimental films, but also documentaries and independent 
videotapes needed to be considered. This is especially true, he said, since 
early video formats have now become archaic, and problems have 
already developed in terms of transferring this work to usable formats. 
Since commercial laboratories have proven themselves unreliable, ar- 
chives must establish policies for the filmmaker to have access, since he 
or she may need to have new projection prints made. 

Noting that many independents have ignored their copyright obliga- 
tions, Paul Spehr of the Library of Congress' Motion Picture Division 
stated that the Library has already demanded a certain number of 
independent films for copyright purposes. A copyright is not legally 
binding unless the filmmaker registers his or her copyright and places 
either a release print or, in the case of independents circulating fewer than 
1 prints, a video copy on deposit at the library, to be replaced by a print 
after five years. 

I noted that my efforts to attract the work of independents, including 
my letter published in The Independent, so far had not elicited a great 
response from the independent filmmaking community. Everyone pres- 
ent agreed that the first goal of all the archives will be to educate 
independent filmmakers about the opportunities available in their insti- 
tutions. Storing prints and/or preprint material in an archivally sound, 
climate-controlled environment, where the material would also be safe 
from the roller-coaster economics of film labs and from film/video 
pirates, would certainly be preferable to basements, attics, and/or com- 
mercial operations. It was further agreed that a standardized deposit 
agreement for independent filmmakers should be proposed, and that all 
the archives interested in preserving and collecting independent work 
will coordinate their efforts for this purpose, in a fashion similar to their 
coordinated efforts to preserve American silent films with the American 
Film Institute playing a coordinating role. In fact, Susan Dalton. archiv ist 
for the American Film Institute, offered to begin coordination of preser- 
vation efforts in the independent sector. Hopefully, both independent 
film- and videomakers and film/video archivists will be able to join 
forces in the near future, so that this work is not lost to posterity. 

lAN-CHRISTOi'HHR HORAK 

Jan-Christopher Horak is the film curator at the George Eastman House . 
The Eastman House hopes to concentrate its collection of independent 
films on documentary and work from the East Coast. 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 




case histories — which more often involve print media — provide limited 
clues about how a court would rule given a slightly different set of 
circumstances. But there are two areas courts routinely emphasize: the 
proportion of copyrighted material used, and the possible negative effects 
on the market value of the property resulting from its use. In addition, courts 
examine the nature and purpose of the allegedly infringing work, recogniz- 
ing that the public interest, as well as possible damage to the copyright 
holder, should be taken into account. 

The networks themselves have employed the fair use defense. ABC 
hauled it out last November when the BBC protested their airing of excerpts 
from The Secret Society — a series covering Britain's secret plans for its first 
spy satellite, barred from broadcast in the U.K. under the Official Secrets 
Act. ABC also invoked fair use when taken to court by two student 
filmmakers and their funders, who won a ruling against the network. The 
Iowa State University students had made a film about Dan Gable, a student 
wrestler who won a gold medal at the 1972 Olympics. When one of the 
students was hired by ABC Sports as a temporary tape operator during the 
Olympics, he learned they were planning to do a program on Gable and 
offered to show them his film. ABC ended up using eight minutes without 
permission or payment, declaring it fair use. The courts disagreed. ABC's 
sale of advertising placed its use in the commercial category. Also, the court 
did not accept ABC's argument that since the students' film was meant for 
educational use. it had no television market to speak of. It was good enough 
for ABC to use, the court noted, adding, "The fair use doctrine is not a license 
for corporate theft.... Indeed, we do not suppose that appellants would 
embrace their own defense theory if another litigant sought to apply it to the 
ABC evening news." 

The court was right — none of the networks like to see their work used 
under circumstances they do not control. But these Goliaths are reluctant to 
risk the public embarrassment of a suit against a small, nonprofit or 
undercapitalized David. Nor are they anxious to invest time and money in 
a suit that, if won, would result in a relative pittance in damage awards. But 
this does not prevent them from using the threat of a lawsuit to protect their 



Berkeley in the Sixties producer Kitchell traded 
services with several San Francisco television 
stations to get tree access to their old news footage, 
thereby obtaining scenes such as this police car sit- 
in by students in the Free Speech Movement. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



material. Sometimes the tactic works, as when CBS filed a quarter-million 
dollar suit in the mid-1970s against Telethon, a video art collective 
cofounded by John Margolies and Billy Adler. CBS served them with legal 
documents after reading about their installation at the Whitney Museum of 
American Art in the New York Times. The installation consisted of a mock 
living room, complete with aTV set that played Telethon's two off-air video 
collages of beauty pageants and the 1972 national political conventions. 
While extended clips from all three networks were included in the tapes, 
CBS was the only one that issued a challenge. Adler now believes CBS was 
compelled to take action, since they were then on the war path with 
Vanderbilt and trying to maintain a consistent public policy. Neither 
Margolies nor Adler cared to be a test case, so they resolved the matter by 
cutting the CBS footage. 

Whether or not a network will file suit depends largely on two variables: 
advice from their legal department, which producers can somewhat reliably 
second-guess with the help of their own lawyers, and the less predictable 
factor of personalities at a network's helm. When Inside Story, a PBS series 
on news media, first went on the air in 1981 and subjected the networks' 
news coverage to critical analysis, NBC News president Bill Small pro- 
duced lots of sound and fury. "It was more a personality matter and principle 
with him," says one PBS source, adding that Small had a reputation for 
being churlish. But Small's complaints evaporated soon after the attorneys 
from PBS and NBC had their initial chat. "Bill Small just had other things 
to worry about after a while," and evidently NBC's lawyers were not 
optimistic about winning a fair use battle. 

Similarly, a New York City station backed off from any kind of challenge 
to independent producer Mary McGee after she spelled out her fair use 
argument pertaining to On Television: The Violence Factor (1984). A vice 
president from WNEW had watched the nationally aired program, which 
contained several hundred off-air clips, and noticed the station's logo and 
news segment in the "Violence in the News" section. The next day McGee 
got a call from a WNEW lawyer, who requested a copy of the tape. She 
complied, also enclosing a note pointing out why fair use applied here. 
"Their counsel returned my tape with a cursory thank you note," says 
McGee, "and I never heard from them again." McGee. who had reviewed 
her fair use claims with several lawyers, says she was protected for three 
reasons: her tape was educational in nature, the clips were short — between 
nine and 28 seconds — and they were clearly presented as quotations, not as 
her own work. 

As the cases of Inside Story, The Violence Factor, and Telethon illustrate, 
there is a third factor in assessing the likelihood of a legal challenge: a more 
public venue increases the possibilities for becoming a target. Broadcast 
television is the most widely visible outlet, exhibition spaces in museums 
and media arts centers the least, with cable TV and theatrical venues falling 
somewhere in between. Even when a work is screened within the relatively 
small and self-contained confines of the art world, however, a prominent 
review which thrusts the work into the limelight, such as Telethon received 
in the New York Times, can generate attention from a miffed copyright 
holder. The safest route is to obtain licensing for all venues a work will 
appear in, even nontheatrical exhibition. Nonetheless, many producers take 
the gamble and assume, usually with good reason, that, if their work's 
exhibition is limited to nontheatrical, nonbroadcast screenings, their use of 
unlicensed news clips will pass unnoticed by copyright holders. 

Proving fair use may be easier when the media itself is the subject of a 
program, as in Inside Story or The Violence Factor, than when news clips 
depict events within a narrative, as in Jacki Ochs and Daniel Keller's 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



An Environmental Protection Agency toxiocologist 

strolls through dioxin-contaminated Times Beach, 

Missouri, in footage Daniel Keller and Jacki Ochs 

obtained from a local TV station for The Secret 

Agent. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Vietnam: The Secret Agent (1983). To illustrate the history of Agent 
Orange's use as a herbicide and weapon in Vietnam and the subsequent 
debate over its effects on veterans' health, the film includes TV news clips 
about chemical accidents, government press conferences, veterans' law- 
suits, and other key events. Footage was obtained through television 
stations, veteran's off-air recordings, and the Vanderbilt Television News 
Archives. Using tapes on loan from Vanderbilt as a source is not an 
uncommon practice among producers — even though many are often un- 
clear about the legality of this practice and will not admit doing it. Ochs, on 
the other hand, has always been open about her Vanderbilt source. 

Since 1968 Vanderbilt University has taped all of the networks' nightly 
newscasts off-air and made them available to researchers, who can either 
view tapes at the archive in Nashville or rent dubs at cost through the mail. 
Vanderbilt's service is cheap, fast, convenient, and unique — enticements 
for any producer working under a restricted budget and deadline. However, 
the networks, not Vanderbilt, hold the copyright and users must sign an 
agreement saying they will not duplicate, rebroadcast, or publicly show the 
tapes. This effectively prohibits the broadcast or theatrical screening of 
excerpts, except those that would fall under the fair use exemption. There- 
fore any producer who uses Vanderbilt's tapes — which are easy to recog- 
nize: each has a timecode, date, and source burned in — ought to be confident 
that their case would hold up in court. 

Ochs was. "I made sure there was a legitimate legal argument on our 
behalf before I proceeded." Two lawyers reviewed her case and concluded 
that she would be protected by fair use, citing Secret Agent's educational 
purpose, the informational (vs. creative) nature of the copyrighted footage, 
the brevity of the segments (10-20 seconds each) relative to the length of the 
entire newscast, and the lack of adverse effect on the market value of these 
particular newscasts. One lawyer also pointed out to Ochs, "All the material 
is ancient history as far as newsworthiness is concerned, and there is no way 
that the use would diminish the amount of money which the copyright 
owners could get from other potential users in the future.... If anything, your 
film may be expected to increase the value of archival news material dealing 
with Vietnam." The networks never challenged Ochs, although at least one 
surely saw the film, since they bought stock footage from the producers for 
their own Agent Orange news stories. Nonetheless, producers using footage 
from Vanderbilt are treading on somewhat sensitive ground, given the 
history of CBS's suit against the archive. There is always the possibility that 
CBS or another network might start a similar suit if they consider the 
dubbing and airing of excerpts to be getting out of hand. 

Fair use is not a license for corporate theft, nor is it a loophole allowing 
any documentary producer to use clips simply by calling their program 
"educational." "Producers should not feel they don't have to pay anyone for 
their footage because they're doing some kind of public service. That's not 
it at all," says Rabin. "First and foremost, never should fair use be used 
specifically to get away with not paying for footage. The real purpose of fair 
use is to make available to a filmmaker footage that otherwise would be 
unavailable to them." The applicability of fair use may also fluctuate for the 
same film, depending on how it is distributed. "Once you get into foreign 
sales or home video, I think your case pretty much goes down the drain," 
says Rabin. "The same footage that might be fair use when a documentary 
is broadcast on PBS may not be considered fair use when that same 
documentary gets sold to home video." 

Another factor to consider when debating whether to take footage under 
fair use is how this might affect subsequent producers and researchers 
needing material from the same source. Rabin illustrates the possible 




damage with the story of a PBS producer who first intended to pay a private 
archive for footage, then at the last minute decided the clips would fall under 
fair use. As a result, says Rabin, "This person, who had tremendous holdings 
in news footage, said that they'd never sell to any public television entity 
again. And that has now held for four to six years. It has handicapped pretty 
much every series I've worked on." 

Such negative repercussions are not limited to fair use. Cases where 
original materials get lost or are never returned, where footage is copied and 
given to other producers or fees are never paid all hurt those who follow. By 
the same token, producers can improve relations by educating the new and 
small, out-of-the-way archives about standard contracts, what film labs to 
use, and what logistical procedures work best. Filmmakers such as Silber 
and Kitchell are helping archives put substantial portions of their collections 
into shape. Through their powers of persuasion — and through their films 
and tapes that give renewed exposure to archival news footage that not so 
long ago stations were routinely throwing out — producers encourage tele- 
vision stations to recognize the value of their holdings. That is the first and 
most critical step in preserving and moving into public hands our history as 
it was recorded, interpreted, and shaped by television news. 



SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Einstein, Daniel. Special Edition: A Guide toNetwork Television Documen- 
tary Series and Special News Reports, 1955-1979. Metchen, NJ: Scarecrow 
Press, 1987. 

Holsinger, Ralph L. Media Law. New York: Random House, 1987. 

Kies, Cosette. "Copyright Versus Free Access: CBS and Vanderbilt Uni- 
versity Square Off." Wilson Library Bulletin 50 (November 1975): 242- 
246. 

Prelinger, Richard. Footage ' 88: North American Film and Video Sources. 
New York: Prelinger Associates, Inc., 1988; (212) 255-8866. 

Rowan, Bonnie G. Scholar's Guide to Washington DC. Film and Video 
Collections. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Press, 1979. 

Schreibman, Fay C. "Searching for Television's History." Broadcasting 
Research Methods, edited by J.R. Dominick and J.E. Fletcher. Newton, 
Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1985. 

. "Television News Archives: A Guide to Major Collec- 



tions." Television Network News: Issues in Content Research, edited by 
William Adams and Fay Schreibman. Washington D.C.: Television and 
Politics Study Program, School of Public and International Affairs. George 
Washington University, 1978. 

Weisman, John. "The Network vs. the University." TV Guide 22 (June 29. 
1974): 2-6. 



•• ' P.ilncu Thomson l>)SS 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 



FESTIVALS 




EASURING VIDEOACTIVITY: 
THE 1987 AFI VIDEO FESTIVAL 




In Mako Idemitsu's 
new tape, Yoji, What's 
Wrong with You?, one 
of the "New Works" 
screened at the AFI 
Video Festival, the 
videomaker continues 
her exploration of 
mother-child relation- 
ships where television 
monitors display 
extra-narrative scenes 
in dramas of psycho- 
logical manipulation. 

Photo: Marita Sturken. 
courtesy Electronic Arts 
Intermix 



Martha Gever 



Christine Tamblyn introduced her remarks at the 
closing panel of the 1 987 American Film Institute 
Video Festival, held in late October at AFFs Los 
Angeles campus, by asking, "Why is there no 
good video art?" Since this panel was designed to 
prompt commentary on the tapes in the "New 
Works" section of the festival, Tamblyn implied 
that the none of the tapes that premiered at this 
edition of the festival were up to snuff. I disagree. 
Not only did many of the tapes in that section 
confirm that compelling independent video con- 
tinues to be made, but Fd extend that observation 
to cover many of the tapes included in the "Only 
Human: Sex, Gender, and Other Misrepresenta- 
tions" program, curated by Bill Horrigan and B. 
Ruby Rich. 

Ever since the AFI initiated its annual video 
festival in 1981, the reviews I've read and some 
I've commissioned and edited have uniformly 
reported a lackluster, predictable event. However, 
when I heard that the festival would go on as 
scheduled, despite the withdrawal of almost all 
support from the festival's major patron, Sony, I 



decided to see for myself. Because it was logisti- 
cally impossible to watch every one of the tapes in 
the festival (a room was provided for screenings 
on request, but it was booked completely after the 
middle of the second day), I decided to concen- 
trate on the two sections mentioned above. Also, 
much informal discussion centered on the 
premieres. However, the "Only Human" section 
and the program on "Media and the Vietnam War" 
proved extremely popular, and in the hallways 
and on the patios of the AFI buildings I frequently 
heard favorable talk about these as well. 

To take the temperature of the festival, apart 
from my own observations, I periodically polled 
other festival-goers about their impressions of the 
other programs in the packed four-day schedule. 
Finding anyone who attended screenings in the 
programs devoted to Bennett Award winners (for 
excellence in local television programming), 
tapes from past International Public Television 
Screening Conference (INPUT). Yugoslavian 
video art, or the selections in the two student video 
sections — the U.S. students' work that is an AFI 
Video Festival staple and an additional program 
of student tapes from West Germany — was diffi- 
cult. Durins a conversation between screenings 



AFFs director of TV/Video, Terry Lawler, told 
me that publicity directed to Brazilian Angelinos 
produced considerable attendance at the program 
of tapes from Brazilian TV and independent 
works from Sao Paolo, but most out-of-towners 
still seemed to gravitate towards the three pro- 
grams I noted earlier. 

Aside from the Bennett Awards, which pro- 
vided the occasion for a reception and ceremony 
on the second night of the festival, this was not a 
congratulatory event. Instead, the festival was 
largely devoted to back-to-back screenings in 
some rooms, discussions with some of the artists 
responsible for "New Works" following their 
screenings in AFFs luxurious, well-equipped 
Mark Goodson video theater, and several topical 
panels interspersed in the program. Whereas in 
past years AFI encouraged the makers of premier- 
ing tapes to attend the festival by paying their 
transportation costs and providing hotel accom- 
modations, this year such expenses were subsi- 
dized only up to $200 per production (although 
some panelists' travel and hotel bills were com- 
pletely underwritten by AFI). 

The absence of prestigious prizes and minimal 
hospitality, however, did not deter a number of 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



producers whose work was programmed from 
attending. In addition to videomakers, audiences 
included a number of curators, writers, students, 
and administrators of media organizations who 
travelled to Los Angeles for a concentrated dose 
of video viewing. The final AFI tally for atten- 
dance for the four-day festival, according to festi- 
val coordinator Ken Kirby, was 1,700, including 
single admissions as well as 225 registrants for the 
entire event. Since many of the festival passes 
($75) and one-day tickets ($25) were complemen- 
tary, Kirby added, sales recouped only a small 
portion of the festival's overall $200,000 budget. 
Lawler explained that AFI picked up the tab for 
about half the costs, advertising in the festival 
catalogue brought in an additional $25,000, and a 
large donation from an anonymous AFI trustee 
defrayed many of the remaining expenses. Hav- 
ing withdrawn major funding for the event, Sony 
lent equipment and provided other in-kind sup- 
port, as did Ampex and Ikegami. 

Although the festival began promptly at 10 
o'clock on Thursday morning, much of the work 
shown the first day received underexposure, due 
to weekday scheduling and severe rainstorms. 
Ilan Ziv and Freke Vuijst's impressive Consum- 
ing Hunger, a three-part documentary on the mass 
media's belated and superficial treatment of 
famine in Africa and analysis of mass media 
spectacles like the Live Aid benefit, was screened 
for a handful of people. The next morning, Peter 
Rose's Babel, an irreverent, engrossing piece of 
pseudo-anthropology and imaginative linguistics 
conceived as a film flanked by video monitors, 
attracted only a few more spectators. By Friday 
afternoon, though, the Goodson Theater was 
packed for a screening of Ethnic Notions, Marlon 
Riggs' detailed, informative historical analysis of 
black stereotypes in U.S. culture. Likewise, there 
was a full house that evening when I saw Women 
with a Past — Lyn Blumenthal's composite of 
interviews with artists Nancy Spero, Christine 
Choy, Martha Rosier, and Yvonne Rainer — and 
Sherry Millner and Ernest Larsen's Out of the 
Mouth of Babes, a densely edited, humorous 
commentary on literacy seen through the prisms 
of a child's acquisition of language and the dou- 
bletalk of U.S. foreign policy in Central America. 
Despite the sparse attendance at the earlier screen- 
ings, I'd contest Tamblyn's conclusion that video 
art suffers from a paucity of ideas or technique on 
the basis of these works alone. 

The premieres at the AFI Video Festival are 
intended to present accomplished work by expe- 
rienced producers, so seeing tapes that met those 
criteria in the "New Works" section was not 
surprising. Still, Neil Seiling, the guest curator of 
that program, broke with AFI Video Festival 
traditions with his eclectic selection and recogni- 
tion of videomakers who are not members of the 
old boy network that dominates video exhibition. 
Unlike the 1986 edition of this festival, where 
work by women and people of color was almost 
totally absent, this year's premieres of tapes by 
white male artists accounted for less than hall. 



In Kathy Tanney's Spin 
Off, shown in the "Only 
Human" program, an off- 
screen voice engages in 
a TV-inspired reverie 
about a liaison between 
Mary Richards and J.R. 
Ewing, while on the 
screen her condensation 
of TV fantasies takes 
shape thanks to the 
wonders of electronic 
editing. 

Photo: Gary Schwartz 




although only one black producer, Riggs, and one 
Asian, Mako Idemitsu, were presented in "New 
Works." 

To consider whether or not Selling's choices 
represented "the best" or even "good" video art — 
vague terms bandied about at the panel that 
wrapped up the festival — would require a major 
essay, one that would debunk the assumptions of 
those who use such evaluative language. It seems 
fair, however, to comment here that Selling's 
curatorial experience (at UCVideo in Minneapo- 
lis, now renamed Intermedia Arts of Minnesota), 
his decision to highlight "video practice" rather 
than "video art," and his willingness to showcase 
work with social import represented a departure 
from similar programs at past AFI video festivals, 
where technical experimentation was often fa- 
vored at the expense of a commitment to social 
issues. The central role accorded guest curators in 
1987 also broke with the festival's tradition of 
placing most responsibility for selections in the 
hands of the festival director, and the strength of 
the 1 987 program can be credited primarily to this 
decision. 

If the "New Works" indicated the variety and 
vitality of video practices in the late eighties, the 
"Only Human" section emphatically confirmed 
this assessment. By applying a broad interpreta- 
tion to the topic of sex and gender and abjuring 
rigid stylistic constraints, co-curators Rich and 
Horrigan amassed a program of 76 tapes and one 
installation which, despite wildly differing sub- 
jects and approaches, effectively mapped the 
topography of sexual discourse in contemporary 
culture. Additionally, some overlap between this 
program and the "New Works" allowed compari- 
sons of work by particular individuals and collec- 
tives that was otherwise difficult to extract from 
the festival's melange. For example, Mako 
Idemitu's recent Yoji, What's Wrong with You? 
could be viewed in conjunction with her two 
earlier tapes Great Mother: Harumi and The 
Marriage ofYasushi included in "Only Human." 
LisaSteeleand Kim Tomczak's tape PrivateEyes 
premiered, while their hi the Dark also played in 



the "Only Human" section. One recent Paper 
Tiger Television show. Donna Harraway Reads 
National Geographic, was programmed by Rich 
and Horrigan, and Seiling selected two others, 
Thulani Davis Asks, "Why Howard Beach?" and 
Judith Williamson Consumes Passionately in 
Southern California. 

Among the tapes on sex and gender, prominent 
themes emerged and could be considered in rela- 
tion to a variety of contingent works. The most 
pronounced of these was AIDS, since, as Rich 
wrote in her essay in the festival catalogue, 
"[A]ny start at thinking through the questions of 
gender formation and the social construction of 
sexuality in 1987 must confront the medical 
emergency and social hysteria passing under the 
name of AIDS." I asked John Greyson to write a 
separate review of this aspect of "Only Human" 
[see his article on page 30], but I'll interject that 
his tape The ADS Epidemic stood out as an inci- 
sive parody and expose of the mass media's con- 
servative moral righteousness in relation to sexu- 
ality and AIDS. The preponderance of Canadian 
work — Greyson's included — was a more curious 
undercurrent in this program. In part, the interest 
in sexuality exhibited by Canadian videomakers 
can be attributed to the harsh censorship laws 
enacted by many of the provinces north of the 
border. For whatever reason, the Canadian work 
selected for this section provided some of the 
program's highlights: the Hummer Sisters' 
Hormone Warzone. Tanya Mars' Pure Virtue, 
Richard Fung's Chinese Characters, and Joe 
Sarahan's Holy Joe were among the commend- 
able tapes on view at the festival. 

Perhaps the most widely discussed work in this 
program, however, was Dick Talk, by Roberta 
Hammond, a.k.a. Roberta X. Hammond's use of 
a pseudonym conforms with the anonymity of the 
women in her tape (she's one of them) whose 
faces are never fully shown. Shot and edited 
without fancy nourishes, the tape document .i 
freewheeling, intimate discussion among 
straight, white, middle-class women friends en- 
gaged in unpretentious, sometimes comical, talk 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



about their attitudes toward and experiences with 
penises. The premise is simple and the talk is 
specific to the women involved, but the tape's 
appeal rests on the relationship between the sub- 
ject — women frankly talking about their sexual 
pleasure (and displeasure) — and the absence of 
comparable representations in our culture. During 
the panel discussion devoted to the "Only Hu- 
man" program, Hammond spoke from the audi- 
ence, recounting the her tape's dismal distribution 
record and the rejections by women's video festi- 
vals and other media showcases that she had 
received. 

The meaning and impact of Dick Talk depends 
on cultural conditions and conventions, but then, 
so does any representation. What Horrigan and 
Rich demonstrated was that there is plenty of 
video worth watching and worth considering in 
the context of a survey of independent media, and 
that such work is being made by plenty of people 
who have not been awarded the mantle of "major 
video artist." Many of the tapes I saw at the AFI 
Video Festival — and many by artists whose work 
I've never seen before — could be cited as refuta- 
tions of the idea that alternative video production 
is moribund, the poor step-child of commercial 
television or avant-garde film. If the AFI Video 
Festival continues to provide the occasion for 
such imaginative and intelligent programs, it will 
provide a service to everyone who has not aban- 
doned the viability of unorthodox, alternative 
media. 



VIDEO ON AIDS 
AT AFI 



John Greyson 



There have already been many "turning points" in 
the representation of AIDS in the media: the first 
"gay cancer" newsclips of '81; the Time and 
Newsweek "gay plague" cover stories of '83; the 
"human face of AIDS" — i.e.. Rock Hudson — in 
'85; the "heterosexualization of AIDS" in '87. 
The last two years in particular have witnessed a 
veritable media explosion on the subject, and the 
independent video sector, led by gay and lesbian 
artists, has valiantly tried to introduce other 
voices into this overwhelming conservative and 
complacent discourse. As turning points go, '87 
was the year that a bumper crop of AIDS tapes 
were produced by independents. 

The curators for the "Only Human" section of 
the AFI Video Festival, Bill Horrigan and B. Ruby 
Rich, decided this ground swell should not pass 
unrecognized, and devoted nearly a third of their 
program to the topic. In her introduction to this 
portion of the festival, Rich commented, "To 
speak of sexuality and the body and not also speak 
of AIDS would be. well, obscene." Running the 



The videotapes on AIDS 

in the "Only Human" 

section of the AFI festival 

included several 

memorial portraits; 

outstanding among them 

was Stashu Kybartas 

unsentimental Danny. 



Courtesy AFI 




gamut from dramas and conventional documenta- 
ries through experimental works and music vid- 
eos, the 21 titles (totalling eight hours) left view- 
ers variously empowered, drained, angry, ex- 
hausted, exhilarated, in tears. 

Unlike their broadcast counterparts, the educa- 
tional tapes on AIDS that Rich and Horrigan 
included do not assume a white, middle-class 
audience (although they seem to assume a straight 
one). Of the four tapes in this category, ODM 
Productions' Sex, Drugs and AIDS and AIDS: 
Changing the Rules, by AIDSFilms, exhibited the 
high production values and celebrity pizazz often 
thought necessary to engage an audience leery of 
being lectured. In the latter, Ruben Blades has a 
wonderful moment with a condom and a banana, 
although dull Ron Reagan Jr. seems a strange 
choice for co-host. Both tapes attempt a direct 
approach to sex and drugs but often digress into 
the sort of hipness that becomes irritatingly coy. 
In contrast, Aaron Ranen and Charlotte Beyers' 
AIDS in Your School and Paul Buchbinders" 
AIDS: Questions and Answers are less flashy and 
more direct. The former uses teenage hosts who 
conduct fairly relaxed conversations with people 
with AIDS (PWAs), while Questions and An- 
swers is street-smart, but unpretentious, and ef- 
fectively speaks to its intended audience of 
Chicago's minority populations. Not so Black 
People Get AIDS Too, by Cedric Pounds and 
Robert Boudreaux, which attempts to address the 
disproportionate number of black people who 
have AIDS (25 percent of PWAs in the U.S. are 
black). To do this the producers elicit opinions 
from three-piece suited doctors who compete at 
being as conservative and uncontroversial as 
possible. Black AIDS activists like the Reverend 
Carl Bean, known for his outspoken criticisms of 
the politics of health care and the racism that 
characterizes AIDS funding, are notably absent. 

AIDS: A Bad Way to Die. produced by and for 
prisoners, shares some of the same problems. The 
interviews with three prisoners with AIDS are 
made purposely terrifying — and exploitative — in 



an effort to scare an audience into safe sex and safe 
intravenous drug use (as if condoms or clean 
needles were available to prisoners). If this were 
CBS, we'd be outraged at the level of manipula- 
tion, but it's much more difficult to judge the 
political intentions of a media project when the 
production is in the hands of the disenfranchised. 
Certainly, the tape's producers, the Taconic 
Video Team, offer no critique of the prison system 
here or of health care within its walls, leading to 
conjecture about who had editorial control. The 
three interviews are rescued, however, by their 
leisurely length, allowing the men a semblance of 
credibility, if not dignity. All six of these tapes 
thoughtlessly reproduce mainstream medical 
theories of HIV transmission and infection, with- 
out reference to other theories concerning co- 
factors or alternate causes. Most importantly, the 
pro-condom/clean needle message conveyed in 
these works is not placed in a larger context of 
sexual self-awareness and general good health. 
Despite these limitations, all of these tapes go 
beyond the "just say no" message favored in gov- 
ernment-sponsored media campaigns and are, 
therefore, probably not reaching very many of the 
people whom they address. 

Memorial portraits of PWAs constitute a genre 
within the gay media community, and there were 
two included in "Only Human." Michael Aue's 
I'm Still Alive is as conventional as others I've 
seen, concentrating on the personal, the heroic, 
the sentimental, avoiding anger and politics. On 
the other hand, Danny, by Stashu Kybartas, is 
more demanding, more complex, and ultimately 
more moving, although Kybartas refuses to in- 
dulge in cliched sentimentality. Layers of slides, 
landscapes, and processed imagery complement 
an equally layered soundtrack of stories and 
memories in a tape that remembers a defiant disco 
queen who clearly loved his place in the seventies 
gay subculture. Danny's. particular story, includ- 
ing his sexual fantasies while he is sick and his 
problematic return to his parents, are understated 
and compelling. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 




/PUBLICATIONS 



Independent Feature Film Production Goodell S9.95 
Legal structure and financing, the pre-production package, the production 
process, post-production distribution and marketing, and samples of 
limited partnership agreements and budgets. 

The Independent Film and Videomakers Guide Wiese S16.95 
Advice on film and video financing, investor presentations and limited 
partnerships. Writing a prospectus, market research, finding distributors, 
negotiating, income projections, list of buyers of non-theatre films, pay 
and foreign tv, and home video, contacts for music video. 

Film and Video Budgets Wiese $16 95 

How to prepare budgets for low budget features, commercials, shorts, 
music videos, pay tv segments. Sample budgets, practical advice and 
money saving tips. 

Home Video: Producing for the Home Market Wiese $16 95 
Advice on the successful development and distribution of original home 
video programs. New marketing opportunities for independent producers. 

The Copyright Primer for Film and Video Sparkman $3 .50 
Practical copyright information, what does or doesn't need a copyright, 
registration procedure, exceptions and a sample release. 

Selected Issues in Media Law Mayer $2 50 

Legal information on copyrights, option agreements, distribution contracts- 

and a glossary of legal terms. 

Ship Shape Shipping Udell $3 00 

Practical advice on international transport of film and video tapes. 

Get the Money and Shoot Jackson $20.00 
How to obtain government, corporate and foundation grants, how to 
write a proposal, and budgets. Film production from start to finish. 
Reading list. 

Before You Shoot Garvy $10.00 

Decision making and organizing for the production side of filmmaking. 

Sponsors: A Guide for Video and Filmmakers 

Goldman/Green $6.00 

Ways to identify potential sponsors, tax implications, advantages and 
disadvantages, establishing good working relationships, sample letters of 
agreement, list of media service organizations, and bibliography. 

Producer's Masterguide '87 $15 00 

An eighty dollar valuel 

AIVF Guide to International Film and Video Festivals 

Aaronson $15.00 

Compilation of two years of festival columns published in The 
Independent. Over three hundred festivals in the US and abroad. 
Complete profiles, contacts and fees. Photocopy. 



AIVF Guide to International Film and Video Festivals 

Bowser $19.50 

The new 1988 up to date edition of the Festival Guide. Soon to be 

published. Pre-orders are being taken nowl Postage and handling 

included. 

Doing It Yourself: A Handbook on Independent Film Distribution 

Reichert/Rothschild $6.00 

The nuts and bolts of self distribution. Topics include promotion, 

types of costs, bookings, running an office, and more. Photocopy. 

AIVF Guide to Film and Video Distributors Guzzy/Lidell $6 00 
Profiles one hundred distribution companies. Indexed for genre/subjects, 
market (and foreign) target audiences, and companies that provide 
completion funding. Photocopy. 



Back issues of The Independent $3.00 
(includes postage and handling) 




CASSETTES 




AIVF is proud to announce its new audio tape series. These are actual live 
recordings of our seminars with no holds barred. Audience questions to 
the panel are included also. In the coming months, new recordings will 
be available on topics of vital importance to the independent, from 
aesthetics to business concerns. 



Now Available! 

Festival Circuit Confidential S12.00 (2 tapes) 
The international film and video circuit is an important entry point for 
independents into foreign markets. This taped seminar brings together 
professionals familiar with international festivals and trends in overseas 
marketing options. A great companion to the AIVF Festival Guidel 

Docs to Drama $12.00 (2 tapes) 

Why are many documentarians switching to dramatic works? Producers 

discuss the aesthetic and practical challenges of "crossing over". 



Send check or money order, or charge to your Mastercard or Visa, along 
with $2.00 postage and handling, S1.00 per additional item for all 
publications. All cassette prices include postage and handling. AIVF 625 
Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012 



JANUARY 88 



A number of short tapes programmed for the 
AFI festival variously address the mass media's 
impact on the crisis we are living through. Isaac 
Julien's music video This Is Not an AIDS 
Advertisement challenges the British media's 
anti-sex AIDS campaign with images of boys 
frolicking suggestively in an electronically-pro- 
cessed landscape, while Julien's lyrics repeatedly 
tell us to "feel no guilt in our desire." Images of a 
young gay man's fears in A, by Andre Burke, 
locate the body as the site of betrayal, no longer 
invincible in the sexual battlefield. (The inclusion 
of A is particularly significant, since its opening 
night screening at last years' festival as the win- 
ner of the student video award was covertly sup- 
pressed by the AFI.) Both Gregg Bordowitz' 
Some Aspects of a Shared Lifestyle and Barbara 
Hammer's Snow Job dissect hysterical AIDS 
headlines and news accounts to reveal the not very 
subtle ideological biases of much that has passed 
for journalism about this health crisis. 

Two longer works, the collectively made Test- 
ing the Limits and Stuart Marshall's Bright Eyes, 
were the only tapes that examined in any detail the 
politics of this "plague." The documentary Test- 
ing the Limits shows myriad examples of New 
York street activism and includes numerous state- 
ments about the political meaning of AIDS and 
the negligence of government and medical estab- 
lishments. Using different forms and styles of 
television representation, Bright Eyes places 
AIDS firmly within a history of medical science, 
representations, and sexuality. The single most 
glaring exclusion in such an otherwise heteroge- 
neous program were explicit safe sex videos like 
the Gay Men's Health Crisis' Chance of a Life- 
time. Presumably this had nothing to do with 
prudishness, since there were sexually explicit 
tapes in the larger "Only Human" program. 

Despite this absence, the AIDS tapes that were 
programmed provided a much-needed overview 
of what has been done so far and how much still 
needs to be done. The great temptation to be 
prescriptive — to demand, for instance, numerous 
video projects interrogating public policies con- 
cerning research, treatments, and funding — may 
be tempting, given the enormous consequences of 
these policies in people's lives — or deaths. How- 
ever, the full range of work in "Only Human" 
gives voice to a collective authority that belies any 
dictates of a "correct line." The real crisis, then, is 
to get all these tapes distributed as widely and 
quickly as possible, to keep making more tapes, 
and, especially, to continue demanding that PBS 
begin to broadcast this kind of work immediately. 
For too long AIDS has been defined by a very 
small number of media professionals prone to 
ignorance or insidious biases, and it will take a 
multitude of us, even if we disagree on some 
points, to begin to challenge their deadly intransi- 
gence. 

John Greyson is a film- and videomaker whose 
most recent tape is The ADS Epidemic. 

©John Greyson 1988 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been com- 
piled by Kathryn Bowser. Listings do 
not constitute an endorsement & 
since some details change faster than 
we do, we recommend that you 
contact the festival for further informa- 
tion before sending prints or tapes. If 
your experience differs from our ac- 
count, please let us know so we can 
improve our reliability. 



DOMESTIC 

Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences 
Annual Student Film Awards. June, California. 
Established in 1973, awards "encourage excellence in 
filmmaking by university & college students." Compe- 
tition open to all students at accredited US colleges & 
universities, art & film schools. Film & video entries 
accepted in cats of animation, doc, dramatic & experi- 
mental. Prizes incl. trophies & $1000 cash grants, w/ up 
to 3 merit awards of $500 in each cat. Judging takes 
place in 4 regional semi-finals & finalists sent to LA to 
be voted upon by active Academy members. Winners 
flown to LA for awards ceremony & participate in 
seminars w/ industry professionals, meetings w/ 
awards alumni & tours of Hollywood studios & produc- 
tion facilities. Entries must be under 60 mins. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm. 3/4". Deadline: Apr. 1. Contact: Student 
Film Awards, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & 
Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 
90211-1972; (213) 278-8990. 

Margaret Mead Film Festival, September 26-29, 
New York. Country's premier showcase for anthropo- 
logical films, fest focuses on docs which explore the 
many aspects of traditional & contemporary cultures. 
Several directors attend screenings of their films. Last 
yr, 5 1 films from 1 7 countries, on diverse topics such as 
Peruvian Indian ceremonies, Afro-Brazilian spirit heal- 
ing, apartheid. Mongol nomads, Navajo crafts, an 
Orthodox Jewish community, "born again" Christians 
& Palestinian villages. American Federation of Arts 
mounted a 1 st-time touring exhibition in '87 of 1 1 films 
representative of the test's offerings, focusing on tradi- 
tional arts. Screenings at American Museum of Natural 
History, which houses fest headquarters. Format: 
35mm. 16mm: preselection on cassette. Deadline: Apr. 
30. Contact: Malcolm Arth/Jonathan Stack, Margaret 
Mead Film Festival, American Museum of Natural 
History, Central Park W. at 79th St., New York. NY 
10024; (212)769-5305. 

National Council on Family Relations Media 
Awards Competition, April-May, Missouri. 20th 
annual competition for films, filmstrips & videos on 
family issues, to be held at Univ. of Missouri. Compe- 
tition cats. incl. human development, parenting, nontra- 
ditional family systems, marital issues & communica- 
tion, sexuality, family planning, abuse & neglect, alco- 
hol & drug abuse. Entries must have been released after 
Jan.l, 1987. Best of Category award. Entry fees: $55- 
185. Deadlines: Mar. 18 (1/2" & 35mm filmstrips); 
Apr. 11 (16mm). Contact: Marilyn Coleman. Dept. of 
Child & Family Development, 28 Stanley Hall. Univ. 
of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211; (314) 882-4360. 

New Jersey Video & Film Festival, June, New Jersey. 



Sponsored by Newark MediaWorks, this competitive 
fest, which recognizes outstanding NJ video & 
filmmaking, will celebrate its 5th anniv. this yr. Entries 
must have been produced by a NJ resident, shot in the 
state, or on a NJ subject, completed between '83 & '88. 
Awards given doc, video/film art, animation, commu- 
nity TV/public access & fiction cats. Fest presents 
Festival Showcase Tour of winning entries to muse- 
ums, art centers & universities around NJ. Formats: 
16mm, 3/4". Entry fee: $25. Deadline: Apr. 8. Contact: 
Dana Kenney/Tami Gold, Newark MediaWorks, Box 
1716, Newark, NJ 07101; (201) 690-5474. 

Nissan Focus Awards, September, California. 12th 
annual nat'l competition for films & screenplays com- 
pleted by college and university students; entries re- 
ceived from over 140 schools. Sponsored by Nissan 
Motor Corp, w/ awards sponsored by Amblin Enter- 
tainment, Great American Picture Show, Columbia 
Pictures, Universal Pictures, Dolby Laboratories, Max 
Factor & Eastman Kodak. Over 560,00 in cash awards 
& automobiles are given to finalists, who are flown to 
LA for tours, seminars & meetings w/ industry profes- 
sionals. Cats incl. narrative films, documentaries, 
screenwriting, animated film, experimental films, ed- 
iting, sound & cinematography. Films must have been 
completed in previous 2 yrs. Format: 16mm. Deadline: 
April. Contact: Sam Katz, Nissan Focus, 1 140 Ave. of 
the Americas, New York, NY 10036; (212) 575-0270. 

San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film 
Festival, June 17-26, California. Oldest & largest fest 
celebrating films & videos by & about lesbians & gay 
men, sponsored by Frameline, nonprofit lesbian & gay 
media arts org. Last yr's fest audiences numbered over 
15,500. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, super 8, 3/4" & 1/2". 
Deadline: Apr. 1. Contact: Michael Lumpkin, Frame- 
line, Box 14792, San Francisco. CA 941 14: (415) 861- 
5245. 

Sinking Creek Film & Video Celebration, June 1 1- 
18, Tennessee. Enthusiastic reviews have attended this 
fest for US independent & student features, documen- 
taries & shorts since inception in 1970; filmmakers 
have praised commitment to & celebration of inde- 
pendent film. For the 1st time this yr (its 19th) the fest 
will accept video (3/4") & judge it alongside 16mm 
entries. Cats: young filmmaker (up to age 18), college 
(grad & undergrad) & ind. filmmaker. $8000 in cash 
awards divided among the 3 cats. Entries must have 
been completed in preceding 2 yrs. No limit on number 
of entries. Entry fees, based on length — from $10 for 
shorts under 10 mins to $75 for features over 90 mins. 
Seminars on video production, animation & analysis & 
criticism scheduled. Formats: 16mm. 3/4". Deadlines 
(entries beginning Mar. 21): Apr. 15 for features & 
video; Apr. 22 for films under 60 mins. Contact: Mary 
Jane Coleman, director. Sinking Creek Film & Video 
Festival, Creekside Farm, 1250 Old Shiloh Rd., 
Greeneville, TN 37743; (615) 638-6524. Films/videos 
should be sent to Box 1056, Greeneville, TN 37744. For 
info on attending fest, contact: Sinking Creek. Sarratt 
Ctr., Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN 37240; (615) 
322-2471. 

Slice of Life Showcase, July 8-10, Pennsylvania. 
Seeks experimental or doc films depicting "unique 
performances of everyday life — those moments of 
truth & beauty which would otherwise go unrecog- 
nized." Sponsored by Documentary Resource Center. 
Fest hosts "meet the artists" reception & conferences. 
Cash prizes awarded & travel stipends given to partici- 
pating filmmakers, accommodated in area homes. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



Entry fee: $10. Format: I6mm, 3/4". Deadline: Apr. 1. 
Contact: Mike Bagwell/Carrie Compton, 740 
Elmwood St., State College, PA 16801; (814) 234- 
7886. 

Works by Women, October, New York. Since 1977, 
fest has promoted accomplishments of women direc- 
tors in ind. film & video. Several directors attend fest & 
lead discussions about their work. Doc & fiction fea- 
tures & shorts accepted. Films & tapes will be rented. 
Formats: 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: 
Christina Bickford, Media Services, Barnard College 
Library, Broadway at 1 17th St., New York, NY 10027- 
6598; (212)280-2418. 



FOREIGN 



Adelaide InternationalFilmFestival for Children, 
June 20-25, Australia. Sponsored by South Australian 
Council for Children's Film & Television, competitive 
fest aims to showcase films that "entertain, inform & 
delight children" & promote closer relationships 
among children's filmmakers/orgs from all over the 
world. Films entered in age cats (4-7 yrs, 8-10 yrs, 11- 
13 yrs) & judged by int'l adult jury & children's jury; 
awards given to best feature & best short. Fest accepts 
fi 1ms made for TV on 1 6mm & plans to establish special 
TV section. Formats: 35mm, 16mm; preview on cas- 
sette. Deadline: Mar. 14. Contact: Eileen Sharman, fest 
director, Adelaide International Film Festival for Chil- 
dren, 59 S. Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia 5000; 
tel: (08) 5 1 3989. 

Banff Television Festival, June, Canada. Int'l event 
celebrating "excellence in television films & pro- 
grams," held in popular mountain resort, brings to- 
gether programming & TV professionals from over 20 
countries for competition, seminars & on-demand 
screenings. Entries must be made for TV (no films in 
theatrical release prior to telecast); shown on TV for 1st 
time after Apr. '87 & be Canadian premieres. Cats: TV 
features, limited series, continuing series, drama spe- 
cials, TV comedies, social & political docs, popular 
science programs, art docs, performance specials & 
children's programs. Producers of award-winning 
films receive Rockie bronze sculpture; directors re- 
ceive certificates of excellence. Grand prize of $5000, 
2 special awards of $2500. Entry fee: $125. Formats: 
3/4"; 16mm may be entered, but will be transferred to 
cassette for viewing by jury. Contact: Banff Television 
Festival, Banff Centre, St. Julien Rd, Box 1020, Banff, 
Alberta, Canada T0L 0C0; (403) 762-3060; telex: 03- 
822804 TV FEST BNF. 

Barcelona International Cinema Week, June 29- 
July 7, Spain. One of Spain's leading film events, which 
organizers have begun to revitalize after several lean 
yrs. Competitive section, offering awards in 4 cats, 
limited to European cinema (w/$ 175,000 prize going to 
winning filmmaker's next production). Features, docs 
& shorts (under 30 min.), TV series, experimental 
accepted. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: 
Apr. 30. Contact: Setmana International de Cinema de 
Barcelona, Av. Maria Cristina S/N, Palau No. 1, 08004 
Barcelona, Spain; tel: (93) 223-8538/223-9900; telex 
53117 FOIMB-E. 

Cannes International Film Festival, May 11-24, 
France. W/ hundreds of new films plus rich & famous 
personalities, Cannes' impact on world cinema is se- 



WE FIND THE CONTACTS BEFORE PRODUCTION 



FUTURE FILM NEWS 



NATIONAL 
FILM SOURCES 



ooooooooooooooooo 

PRE-PRODUCTION 
NEWSLETTER 

ooooooooooooooooo 



>f RESEARCHES SAC AND NONUNION FILMS CURRENTLY IN ¥• LISTS CASTINC DIRECTORS & PRODUCERS SEEKING 

PRE-PRODUCTION IN N.Y. - CALIF. - ALL THE U.S.A. TALENT AND SERVICES FOR UPCOMING FILMS 

TOLL FREE CREDIT CARD ORDERS 1 - 800 -222"3844 IN PA. CALL: (717) 342-8802 



SfNOCHtorORMOMfvoilOfi! TO: NATIONAL FILM SOURCES 

10 EAST 39th ST. SUITE 1017 HEW YORI, N.Y. 10016 

Name D visa D MasterCard 

(PlarooPrlr.1) 
Address Apr I Account!. 



Ctry/Sri!a/ZlD_ 



Expiration Dale:. 



_/ /_ 



AuUrorued Slgnslui 



Mo Day 

MONEY BACK GUARANTEE Y[ . RU SUBSCRIPTION 

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER 



LIMITED TIME ONLY: $39.95 ^^*™™™"™*> 



1-inch & 

Interformat Editing 
3/4'BVU Editing 
3/4" OlT-Line Editing 
Complete Audio Services 
Film to Tape Transfers 
Video Production & 
Screening Equipment 
Rental 



1 ll 1 


il\ 




p M - U 


|lv 






it MEDI A 



MOBILE 

COURIERS & TRUCKS 



Broadway Video 

G.B.S. Video 

L.R.P. Video 

Matrix/Stand-By 

Sync Sound 

TV-R/MasterColor 

Technisphere Corporation 

Post-production consultation 

Available to ON-LINE clients 

For applications contact 

Media Alliance 

c/o WNCT. 356 West 58th Street 

NYC. NY 10019 212/560-2919 




NEW YORK'S LEADING 
FILM INDUSTRY 
MESSENGER SERVICE 
est. 1970 



Speed is our specialty 
we deliver anything 
anywhere. . . 

751-7765 
247-7400 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



CODE 16 

16 MM EDGE NUMBERING 

* Codes Every 16 Frames 

* Prints on All 16 MM Stock Including Polyester 

* Clearest, Easiest to Read Numerals Anywhere 

* Your Choice of Four Colors 

Lowest Prices Anywhere 

i,oooft $ 8.00 

Polyester Track 

i,oooft $10.00 



Let CODE 16 Sync up your dailies — 
low rates — call for information 

For any size job call 496-1 118 

Same day service— Weekends & rush hours possible 

21 W. 86 ,h St. 

Monday - Friday 10-5 



LEARN 

VIDEO 

EDITING 

} A " Editing Classes include: 

VIDEO EDITING 

* 

AUDIO MIXING 

* 

TROUBLESHOOTING 

* 

MAX 4 TO A CLASS 

* 

1 6HR SINGLE WEEKEND 

* 

FREE REFRESHER CLASS 

* 

DYNAMITE TEACHERS 

For more info call Debbie or David 

29th STREET 
VIDEO, Inc. 

(212) 594-753© 



YOUR 

NECESSITIES 

CATALOG 

NEW FALL SUPPLEMENT 

Featuring: 

The Finest Professional 

AUDIO AND VIDEO TAPE, 

EQUIPMENT, ACCESSORIES, 

AND SUPPLIES 

A T THE LOWEST PRICES EVER! 

Agfa, Ampex, Eastman.Fuji. Maxell, 

3M, Canare. Kings, Neutrik. Chyron, 

Crosspoint Latch, Fostex, JVC, Leader, 

Lowel. Mitsubishi, Super VHS, and 

Much, Much, More! 

FREE! 

Call for yours today! 

518-828-2000 

Hudson Audio Video Enterprises. Inc 
309 Power Avenue, Hudson, NY 12534 



cure. Every yr tens of thousands of guests attend. The 
lure & purpose of Cannes is buying & selling. Exposure 
here can be important to film's ultimate commercial 
success. Numerous press events, parties, screenings, 
seminars, lectures, concerts & meetings held at which 
to publicize a film. Thousands of buyers, distributors & 
journalists make Cannes ideal place to make deals. 
Participation can be expensive; advertising materials & 
publicity are critical & posters, press packets, flyers, 
etc. essential. Many filmmakers hire publicists or for- 
eign reps. Films must be subtitled in French & possibly 
blown up to 35mm, at producer's expense. Last yr IFP 
& American Playhouse, in assoc. w/ French- American 
Film Workshop, organized Salon du Cinema Indepen- 
dant at Palais Croisette, bringing together US ind. 
producers, directors & distribs & featuring seminars on 
int'l coproduction, marketing, acquisition & distribu- 
tion & incl. press conference & hospitality suite. Fest 
sections: Official Selection, which incl. Official Com- 
petition, for features & shorts; Special Out-of-Compe- 
tition Selections, for features ineligible for competition 
because of previous awards, invited by the jury & Un 
Certain Regard, for selected features out-of-competi- 
tion; Quinzaine des Realisateurs (Director's Fortnight), 
the main sidebar w/ purpose of discovering new talent, 
sponsored by Assoc, of French Film Directors, for 
features; le Semaine de Critique (International Critics' 
Week), noncompetitive selection of 1st or 2nd features 
& docs chosen by members of French Film Critics 
Union. Market, administered separately, screens films 
in theaters in main venue Palais des Festival & in local 
theaters. Entries for the official selection & Director's 
Fortnight must have been completed in previous 12 
mos, European premieres & not shown in other major 
int'l fests. Int'l Critics Week selections must have been 
completed w/in 2 yrs prior to fest. Top prizes incl. 
Official Competition's Palme d'Or (feature & short) & 
Camera d'Or (1st feature director), in any section. For 
information & accreditation, contact: Catherine Verret, 
French Film Office, New York, NY 10151, (212) 832- 
8860, by mid-March. Pierre-Henri Deleau, director of 
Quinzaines des Realisateurs, will be in NY at beginning 
of March. Interested filmmakers should send short 
synopsis & credit list to French Film Office & request 
an appl.; screening time is at filmmaker's expense. 
Official Section: Festival Int'l du Film 71, rue du 
Faubourg St. Honore, 75008 Paris, France; tel: 1 
42669220; Quinzaine des Realisateurs, Societe des 
Realisateurs de Films, 215 Faubourg St. Honore, 75008 
Paris, France; tel: 1 45610166; Semaine International 
de la Critique, Robert Chazal, president, 73, rue 
d'Anjou, 75008 Paris, France; tel: 1 3873616. 

Cracow International Festival of Short Films, 
June, Poland. 25th yr. of competitive fest for films 
under 30 mins. Accepts doc, popular science, animated, 
experimental & featurette films. Entries cannot have 
received awards at another major int'l European fest & 
must be completed in preceding yr. Fest pays return 
shipping. Awards incl. Golden Dragon Grand Prix; 2 
Golden Dragon special prizes; 4 Silver Dragon major 
prizes; Bronze Dragon for photography, screenplay & 
music (cash prizes accompany awards but are not con- 
vertible & must be spent in Poland). There is small 
market, initiated last yr, headed by Filmpolski sellers & 
buyers. Format: 35mm. 16mm (optical & magnetic). 
Deadline: Mar. 15. Contact: Cracow International Fes- 
tival of Short Films, PI. Zwyciestwa9, Boxl27, 00-950 
Warsaw, Poland; tel: 260451; telex: 813640 film pi. 

Munich International Film Festival, June, W. Ger- 
many. Extremely popular & receptive showcase for 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



independent films. Now in 6th yr, fest regularly fea- 
tured salute to US independents. Last yr 120 films 
screened before audiences of over 100,000 at 1 1 thea- 
ters. 18 ind. features & several shorts shown & several 
directors attended. Fest sections: Int'l Program, Per- 
spectives of Young European Film, New German 
Films, Independents, Documentaries & Children's 
Film Fest. Special features incl. doc seminar led by 
D.A. Pennebaker, black cinema headed by Albert 
Johnson & annual symposium on film & media law. 
Munich Film Exchange section provides venue for int'l 
contacts w/ buyers, sellers, producers & distributors. 
Video companies also attend w/ video premieres of 
theatrical films that have not found theatrical distribu- 
tor. Fest receives wide German publicity. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm; preview on cassette. Deadline: May 1. 
Contact: Ulla Rapp, Internationale Munchner Film- 
wochen GmbH, Turkenstrasse 93, 8000 Munich 40, W. 
Germany; tel: (089) 39301 1/12; telex: 5214674 imfd. 

Velden Amateur Film Festival of Nations, June, 
Austria. Competitive event for 16mm & super 8 films 
by amateur & students. Films must be under 30 mins. 
Competition cats: doc, travel, games & genre (fantasy 
& experimental). Winning entries may screen on Aus- 
trian TV. Prizes awarded by Austrian Education & Art 
Minister, Governor of Carinthie, Mayor of Velden; also 
special awards. Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: Velden 
Filmfestival der Nationen fur Filmamateure, Kurdirek- 
tion, A-9220 Velden am Woerther See, Austria; tel: 
(04274) 2105; telex: 4294515. 

Venice International Film Festival, September, 
Italy. Oldest int'l film fest in the world (Mussolini 
founded it), now entering its 45th yr. Last yr newly 
streamlined edition inaugurated in order to highlight 
films shown; only 65 films were screened in & out of 
competition, 3 each day. The all-features fest is invita- 
tional. Cats incl. main competition which will present 
major films of '88; out-of-competition section; int'l 
critics' week; retrospective (last yr. featured the films 
of Joseph Mankiewicz) & special event screenings (last 
yr. featured homages to Bertolucci & Cinecitta). 12- 
member int'l jury awards Golden Lion for best film. 
Silver Lion, special grand jury award, awards for best 
actor & actress & Italian Senate Prize. Other awards go 
to best screenplay, music, cinematography, art direc- 
tion & costumes; special critics' prizes also awarded. 
Fest receives very heavy Italian & int'l press coverage. 
Participating films must be subtitled in Italian at 
presenter's expense; presenters also responsible for 
round-trip shipping. Must be 1st release outside country 
of origin & 1st fest showing. Format: 35mm, 16mm. 
Deadline: May 30 (by invitation). Contact: La Biennale 
di Venezia, Settore Cinema e Spettacolo Televisivo, 
Ca' Giustinian, San Marco, 30100 Venice, Italy; tel: 
(902) 422-3429; telex: 01921800. 

Wellington Film Festival, July, New Zealand. Run 
in tandem w/ Auckland Film Fest: shares many of the 
same films. Fest noncompetitive & features sell out 
screenings to audiences of over 100,000. NZ premieres 
& diverse int'l program of about 50 features, docs & 
shorts which may not otherwise have been seen in NZ. 
Entries must have been accepted & shown at another 
fest or fests outside of NZ. All films receive certificate 
of participation. Fest organizers assist w/ sales to TV, 
film libraries & distributors. Return shipping paid. This 
will be fest's 17th yr. Formats: 35mm (preferred); 
16mm. Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: Bill Gosden, direc- 
tor, Wellington Film Festival, Box 9544, Courtenay 
Place, Wellington, New Zealand; tel: 850-162; telex: 
NZ 30386 FILMCOM Attn: Fedfilm. 



SEIMIXIHEISER 




loiue! 





postex 

audio technica 



I CD l—l 



SYNC RECORDERS 



Conversions by THE FILM GROUP 



dbx" 



JAC 



EDITORS 

'ARPENTER(CINE) 



P.O. BOX 1321 

MEADVILLE, PA 16335 -0821 




Video Cassette Duplication 



16mm Editing Roon 



iterlock Screening Rooms 



Machine Cleaned. Optically Tested. & 

GUARANTEED FOR MASTERING 

3/4' Used Video Cassettes 

NEW, MAJOR BRAND VIDEO CASSETTES 
AT DISCOUNT PRICES 



FRESH <» 



Scotch'n Kodak 

AFTER HOURS/ 

' >L V r .'or * vIDf O fAPl AufJiO T APf If ADf « A M,PPU( r , 

RAFIK 475-7884 



VlfrlO 

212-645-3790/1 



FINE EDITING ON %" VIDEO 



^ T 




$25/ hr without editor 
$35/ hr with editor 



Also available: 

A/B Roll with TBC, special effects 
generator, character generator. 
VHS-%" transfers. 



CREATIVE VISUAL MEDIA. INC. 

Fort Lee, N.J. 

(just across GW Bridge) 

Tel: (201) 585-1847 



AFFORDABLE POST PRODUCTION 



Including: OFF-LINE EDITING 



A/B ROLL 



COMPUTER GRAPHICS 



PRODUCTION 



Conception to Completion 



5 West 20th St. 5th Floor, New York, New York 10011 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 




East meets West, as 
the Soviet Union's 
best-known jazz 
combo, the Ganelin 
Trio, admire some 
graffiti during their tour 
of the U.S., docu- 
mented by filmmaker 
Jacki Ochs in Jazz 
Summit. 



Courtesy filmmaker 



Renee Tajima 



Principal photography has been completed on A 
Question of Color, Kathe Sandler's documen- 
tary exploring attitudes of skin color, hair texture, 
and facial features in the black community. In 
production for over three years, the one-hour film 
examines "color consciousness" from slavery to 
the present, largely through personal testimonies 
of black Americans from all backgrounds, using 
historical footage as well. Despite the controver- 
sial nature of the subject, Sandler was able to 
secure funding from a number of different 
sources, including the National Endowment for 
the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, 
the District of Columbia Community Humanities 
Committee, and the American Film Institute. 
Completion funds were recently awarded by the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting. A Question 
of Color: Kathe Sandler, 736 West End Ave., 
#1B, New York, NY 10025; (212) 864-4343. 

The grande dame of experimental theater, 
Ellen Stewart, and her off-off Broadway venue La 
Mama are the subjects of a documentary-in-prog - 
ress, Mama's Pushcart, by producer Louise 
Diamond, director Demetria Royals, and associ- 
ate director/producer Rene Cruz. Cultural per- 
formers from over 50 nations have been hosted at 
La Mama, from Argentina to Yugoslavia, the 
Philippines, and the Ivory Coast. In the words of 
Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, Stewart 
and La Mama have originated "eighty percent of 
what is now considered American theater." The 
producers received seed monies from the Public 
Broadcasting Service to produce the full-length 
video, in celebration of La Mama's twenty-fifth 



anniversary season. Interviews for the program 
will include a remarkable roll call of La Mama 
artists, including Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson. 
Elizabeth Swados, Tom O'Horgan, and Joseph 
Chaikin, as well as Stewart herself. Shooting will 
take place on location in and around the La Mama 
theaters in New York's Lower East Side using a 
Betacam ENG/EFP package. Mama's Pushcart: 
Diamond Royals Productions, 47 Great Jones St., 
New York, NY 10017; (212) 254-3840. 

America's philanthropic institutions have sup- 
ported the work of film- and videomakers for a 
number of years, but have rarely been the object of 
the camera's eye. Albert Maysles and Susan Fro- 
emke have just completed a new documentary, 
Foundations: The People and the Money, a 28- 
minute behind-the-scenes account of the little 
known organizations that donate billions of dol- 
lars each year to support education, health, the 
arts, human services, and civil causes. The film 
highlights the activity of the Rockefeller family, 
featuring a discussion between the two David 
Rockefellers, Sr. and Jr. Foundations also looks at 
the programs these funds benefit, including a New 
York City center for homeless children in a wel- 
fare hotel and the home of a family confronting 
the farm crisis in the Midwest. The three-year 
project was administered by a steering committee 
comprising leaders in the philanthropic commu- 
nity and received funding from 30 foundations. 
The film can be borrowed for free by nonprofit 
groups around the country and is available on both 
film and tape. Foundations: The People and The 
Money: Karol Media, 22 Riverview Dr., Wayne, 
NJ 07470. 

Longtime San Francisco filmmaker George 
Kuchar just premiered his humorous and touching 



video diary. Video Album 5: The Thursday 
People, at the American Film Institute's Video 
Festival in Los Angeles. The tape was shot on a 
Sony 8mm camcorder, with the editing and music 
track done on-the-spot, using in-camera picture 
and audio editing. The one-hour documentary 
was made for a few dollars, and demonstrates the 
remarkable potential for 8mm video. The Thurs- 
day People follows Kuchar on his daily travels in 
and around the Bay Area, colored by his funny, 
off-camera commentary, focusing on the last days 
of filmmaker Curt McDowell, who died of AIDS 
last year. Video Album 5: The Thursday People: 
George Kuchar, 3434 A 19th St., San Francisco, 
CA 941 10; (415) 431-81 10. 

Deborah Shaffer's new documentary takes its 
name and inspiration from Fire from the Moun- 
tain: The Making of a Sandinista, the autobiog- 
raphy of Nicaraguan revolutionary and writer 
Omar Cabezas. The one-hour film recounts Ca- 
bezas' extraordinary life: his "coming of age" 
under the Somoza dictatorship and transforma- 
tion into a guerrilla fighter with Sandinista forces 
in their mountain strongholds. Rare images and 
archival footage shows Cabezas at the center of 
the revolution's milestones: leading student 
demonstrations during the turbulent sixties as 
well as leading troops to victory in Managua 
during July 1 979 when Somoza' s regime fell. The 
film was produced by Academy Award-winning 
director Shaffer and Adam Friedson, in associa- 
tion with the Common Sense Foundation. Fire 
from the Mountain: Common Sense Foundation. 
3971 1/2 Beethoven St., Los Angeles. CA 90066: 
(213)822-9659. 

Filmmaker Stanley Nelson has been recog- 
nized by the Borough of Manhattan president 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



David Dinkins for his new one-hour documen- 
tary. Two Dollars and a Dream: The Story of 
Madame C.J. and A'Lelia Walker. Born to 

impoverished ex-slaves only two years after 
emancipation, Madame C.J. Walker was or- 
phaned at six-years-old, married at the age of 14, 
and widowed by 20. But she eventually went on to 
become America's "first Black millionairess." 
She founded her own manufacturing company, 
developing 23 cosmetic products, from hair 
straighteners to toothpaste. Madame Walker was 
also known as a great philanthropist, who ulti- 
mately left one-third of the Walker Company to 
charity upon her death. Her daughter A'Lelia 
inherited the stewardship of the company and 
went on to play a key role in the Harlem Renais- 
sance. She was known for her salon where, as 
Langston Hughes described it, "Negro poets and 
Negro numbers bankers mingled with downtown 
poets and seat-on-the-stock-exchange racket- 
eers." Nelson tells this colorful story through oral 
histories, photos, and vintage film footage, in- 
cluding a 1928 documentary produced by the 
Walker Company about its history that was re- 
cently restored by the American Film Institute. 
Two Dollars and a Dream: Stanley Nelson and 
Associates, 324 Convent Ave., New York, NY 
10031; (213) 690-4613. 

Richard Boehm has just completed a new 26- 
minute documentary about the world of reusable 
materials. In Junkyard Journeys Boehm pro- 
files people like the artists, aluminum can collec- 
tors, and car restoration buffs whose work com- 
bines ecology and economics. One man supports 
his family by selling the cardboard he collects on 
his pick-up truck. In another scene a building is 
dismantled brick by brick so that materials can be 
sold for future construction projects. Junkyard 
Journey is the third of Boehm' s three-part Outlaw 
Economics series, which profiles a new breed of 
capitalist entrepreneurs who earn their living on 
the fringes of the U.S. economy. Part one, Sold 
America, profiles California's marijuana growers 
who earn thousands of dollars by illegally culti- 
vating the state's number one cash crop. The 
second segment, entitled Las Vegas Odds, de- 
scribes the lives of professional sports gamblers. 
Junkyard Journey: Richard Boehm, 1218 Victo- 
ria Ave., Venice, CA 90291; (213) 391-7058. 

In production for nearly three years, Liane 
Brandon's new documentary How to Prevent a 
Nuclear War premiered last fall at the Brattle 
Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The 32- 
minute film is an up-beat look at the kinds of 
activities that anyone can participate in to lessen 
the threat of nuclear war. It captures the spirit and 
commitment of 1 5 people of different ages, races, 
and backgrounds involved in grassroots anti- 
nuclear organizing, such as a suburban housewife 
and the founder of the Vernon Jones Gospel 
Singers, an inner-city gospel choir. The film also 
features a special appearance by musical satirist 
Tom Lehrer. How to Prevent a Nuclear War: New 
Day Films, 22 Riverside Dr., Wayne, NJ 07470; 
(201)633-0212. 




Pinky is one of three 
runaway teens who 
discuss their histories 
of incest, abuse, and 
family neglect in 
Kate Davis' feature- 
length documentary 
Girltalk. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Lori Tsang has completed a 25-minute black 
and white film, Chinaman's Choice, based on 
the experiences of her father, Alfred Tsang. The 
film combines narrative and documentary styles 
to evoke a Chinese American ' s impressions of the 
past and his decision to stay in the United States. 
Tsang grew up in China, but returned to the U.S. 
at the age of 14, when the Japanese invaded 
Guandong Province in 1938. He quit high school 
to enlist with the U.S. Army Air Corps and partici- 
pated in the bombing of Japan as a navigator on a 
B-29, going on to become the deputy attorney 
general for the state of Indiana. In Chinaman's 
Choice, Tsang explores her father's memories of 
childhood in China and the trauma of his wartime 
experiences. Scenes from everyday life are inter- 
woven with narration, the poetry of Chinese 
writer Stephen Liu, and an original score by jazz 
and classical musican Brother Ah, a.k.a. Robert 
Northern. The film premiered at Washington, 
D.C.'s Biograph Theatre last September. 
Chinaman's Choice: Cinethesis Productions, 
3217 Connecticut Ave., NW, #34, Washington, 
DC 20008; (202) 357-8463; (202) 244-2561. 

Girltalk, a feature length documentary about 
girls who run away from home, screened last 
October at the Independent Feature Film Market. 
Producer/director Kate Davis portrays three girls 
from varied class and ethnic backgrounds to relate 
their family histories of neglect and incest: Pinky, 
a 14-year-old Latina whose father left home and 
whose mother is determined to be a "neglectful 
parent" by the court; Mars, who grew up in a 
suburban, midwestern town, leaving home at 13 
when her father threatened to take her to a motel 
and "break her in right" and now works as a 
stripper in Boston; and Martha, a 19-year-old in 
the final month of pregnancy, who was sexually 
abused from the age of six and has lived in over 20 
homes and institutions. In the film, the birth of 
Martha's child and her recitations of her own 
poetry echo the pain and strength of all three 
stories. Girltalk also screened at the Montreal 
International Festival of New Cinema. Girltalk: 
Kate Davis, 215 W. 101st St., #7A. New York. 



NY 10025; (212) 663-51 14. 

Kosygin backed it, Krushchev denounced it, 
Andropov liked it, and Stalin had many of its 
adherents killed. Jazz, America's best known 
cultural export, reached the Soviet Union in 1922 
where it instantly took root despite harsh criti- 
cism. In Jazz Summit filmmaker Jacki Ochs 
looks at jazz, Soviet style, in an era of glasnost. 
Following two trips to the Soviet Union, where 
she met and taped jazz and rock musicians, Ochs 
grabbed the opportunity to document the first trip 
of a Soviet jazz group, the Ganelin Trio, to the 
United States. At the center of the half-hour video 
documentary is this foremost avant-garde jazz 
group in the USSR and their performances across 
the country. Ochs hopes that Jazz Summit will 
dislodge U.S. attitudes about Russians — through 
the power of music. Jazz Summit: Human Arts 
Association, 591 Broadway, New York, NY 
10012; (212) 925-7995. 

Brooklyn-based filmmaker Jem Cohen has 
released a documentary "history" of New York 
City, from prehistoric times through the space 
age. This Is a History of New York, a 23-minute 
black and white film, uses documentary street 
footage to study the radically different worlds 
within the city's five boroughs. Divided into 
seven sections, the film concentrates on the inter- 
action between street life and architecture. The 
section of the prehistoric period, forexample, was 
largely filmed in the abandoned waterfronts of 
Brooklyn, while "The Age of Reason" captures 
Wall Street perched ominously before the crash of 
1987. Cohen, who is distributing the film on 
video, premiered it at Hallwalls in Buffalo in a 
show curated by artist Robert Longo. This Is a 
History of New York: Bedlam Films. 43 Grand St.. 
#3. Brooklyn. NY 1 121 1; (718) 387-7580. 

The Laser Man, a high-tech comedy that pays 
tribute to the innovative and technological vitality 
of America, has wrapped principal photography 
in New York. The second feature film by A ( treat 
Wall director Peter Wang. Laser Man is a comedj 
thriller set in the near future, revolving around a 
dedicated and naive scientist named Arthur 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 



Make your next video shoot 
as happy as this one. 




Call 

Kingfish 

^BETACAM production package with van 

s Award-winning producers 

* BETACAM to %" or VHS dubbing with 
time code and window dub 

^%" to %" time code editing with 
Sony 5850s 

</» Excruciatingly low rates! 

■X Convenient SoHo location 

For a good time call Andy or Louis at 

(212)9258448 

KISGFISH VIDEO PRODUCTIONS VIDEO ( HOP SHOP • 



Va" video & post production 




VIDEO 



Newfullv 
§40 computerized Edit 
v ^ w - System-Eagle 2 w/DOS 

(CMX compatible disk). 
w/Editor, Timecode, TBC, Freezes, 
Switcher, Hi-res. Character Gen. 
(70 Fonts), Fairlight Dig. Effects. 



$60. A/B 



Roll w/all the above 



$ 2 fl Do-it-yourself with 

v *- w " RM440 (or ECS90 wATC 
3/4 to 3/4 &VHS-3/4) 

$30. with Editor -Cuts only 



Striping-Window Dubs-Copies 
3/4 Location Package with 
Ikegami 730, Lights, Mies, Crew 



TEL: (212) 219-9240 



dooo ooaaaoooo 

MOTION MEDIA 

D0D0 00 00 00 000 



ON A 
BUDGET? 



Offers 

16 mm Mag Film Transfers 

1 X4" or cassette, sync or wild 

$16.00 - hr 

Pic/Sound Sync-up 
$2.00 - slate 

Mag Film Stock 
$0.04 - ft 

Write or Call: 

MOTION MEDIA CO. 

203 W. Holly, Suite M15 

Bellingham, WA 98225 

(206)676-2528 



HEALTH INSURANCE 
FOR AIVF MEMBERS 



AIVF offers its members excellent 
group medical and life insurance 
plans, administered by The Enter- 
tainment Industry Group Insurance 
Trust (TEIGIT). Our comprehensive 
medical plan offers: 

• $200 deductible 

• 80% coinsurance 

• yearly out-of-pocket cost set at 
$1,000 maximum & $1,000,000 
maximum lifetime benefit 

Other plans are available, including 
disability income insurance with a 
$500 monthly benefit. 

To join AIVF or 

for more information, write 

AIVF Membership Services 
625 Broadway, 9th floor 
New York NY 10012 

or call Ethan Young, (212) 473-3400 



Weiss, played by Japanese American actor Marc 
Hayashi. Weiss discovers too late that his re- 
search is being funded by political assassins led by 
the villain Hanson (George Bartenieff). As the 
intrigue unfolds, one by one Arthur's family and 
friends become implicated. The humorous and 
provocative film weaves personal, political, and 
cultural motifs. With a multi-ethnic cast, it drama- 
tizes racial stereotypes and cultural differences 
and explores ways diverse cultures can coexist in 
an ever-modernizing America. The Laser Man: 
465 Broome St., 4th fl., New York, NY 10012; 
(212) 966-5773. 

Gorman Bechard, Kristine Covello, and Kathy 
Milani have just completed work on a one-hour 
documentary. Twenty Questions. The film, 
which deals with life, death, and just about every- 
thing, was shot on an almost nonexistent budget. 
In it, 19 people from all walks of life were chosen 
at random, and locked in a room for about 11 
minutes (the length of one roll of 16mm film), 
during which time they were asked 20 questions, 
ranging from "What do you do when you discover 
your lover has AIDS?" to "Fur coats?" to "The 
contents of your refrigerator' s bottom shelf?" The 
subjects ranged from a 14-year-old parochial 
school student to a housewife, patrol officer, and 
everything in between. Twenty Questions was 
produced by the makers of B-Movie. Twenty 
Questions: Generic Films, Box 2715, Waterbury, 
CT 06723; (203) 756-3017. 



MEMBER DISCOUNTS 

AIVF is pleased to sponsor a discount program 
of film and video production services for its 
memoers. The companies listed Pelow will offer 
discounts to AIVF memPers upon presentation 
of a membership card. 



Camera Mart 

Leo Rosenberg, Rental Manager 

456 W. 55th St. 
New York, NY 
(2r2) 757-6977 

20% discount on all rentals of film & video 
equipment with some specific exceptions. 
Larger discounts may be available for rentals of 
long duration or for favorable payment terms. 

Rafik 

814 Broadway 
New York. NY 
(212)475-9110 

25% discount on rentals of film projectors, single 
& double system & sales of used videotapes. 
10% on single video services over $100. 

Square 12 Video Post-Production 
Bob Wiegand 

16 Greene St. 
New York, NY 
(212) 925-6059 

10% discount. 



AIVF would like to thank these companies for 
participating. Other firms wishing to be 
included should contact Ethan Young, AIVF 
Membership Services, (212) 473-3400. 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



rHE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 

• Comprehensive health, disability, life, and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• Festival Bureau: your inside track to over 400 international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and public forums to increase support for independent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aesthetic issues 

• Discounts on professional services, including car rental, film labs, post-production facilities & equipment rental 
AND 

• A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film and Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine 
tailored to your needs (10 issues per year) 



Help Yourself. 



j 



oin AIVF Today and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

I | $35/year individual 
] (Add $10 for first class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT) 

I I $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID) 

I I $50 /year library (subscription only) 

I I $75/year organization 

I I $45 /year foreign (outside US, Canada & Mexico) 



Name 



Address_ 
City 



State 



^P. 



Country (if outside US) 
Telephone 



Please bill my: Visa Mastercard 

Acct. # 



Exp. Date 
Signature 



OR: Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 
9th floor. New York, NY 10012: or call (212) 473-3400. 



• 



CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independent's Classifieds column 
includes all listings for "Buy • Rent • 
Sell," "Freelancers" & "Postproduc- 
tion" categories. It is restricted to 
members only. Each entry has a 250 
character limit & costs $15 per issue. 
Ads exceeding this length will be ed- 
ited. Payment must be made at the 
time of submission. Anyone wishing to 
run a classified ad more than once 
must pay for each insertion & indicate 
the number of insertions on the submit- 
ted copy. Each classified ad must be 
typed, double-spaced & worded 
exactly as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of each 
month, two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., March 8 for the May issue. 
Make check or money order— no 
cash, please— payable to FIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 

For Sale: Arri-S package: excellent, 3 mags, 3 Cooke 
primes, 2 motors, 2 batteries, matte & filters, b/case: 
$2,500. Moviola: 16mm, very good, 1 pic & 2 sound 
heads, $1,500. Ang 12-120: Arri standard (rebuilt), 
$1,200. N.C.E.: head (rebuilt) & legs, $375. Wilm, NC 
(919) 392-0387. 

Buy/Rent/Sell: We specialize in hard-to-find lenses, 
cameras & accessories. Used equipment lists avail. 
Send inventory for quick fair-market evaluation. Econ- 
omy camera, sound pkgs & animation to suit your 
budget. Tony Zaza, Crosscountry Film Video, 724 
Bloomfield St., Hoboken, NJ 07030; (201) 798-0949. 

For Sale: Sony M3A video camera, broadcast quality, 
750 lines, 58 S/N, many auto features, w/ Canon 15X 
zoom lens, batteries, case. Condition like new. $5700. 
(718)786-5001. 

For Sale: Super 8mm production camera — Nizo 6080 
w/ Schneider 7-80 zoom lens, batteries & charger, 
filters (UV, star, polarizing, ND, CUs, others). Wurker 
splicer, Hahnel viewer, Bohnum reels. Everything top 
of line. $1,100 or best offer. Complete super 8 prod, 
studio. (717) 435-0592. 

Panasonic VHS Editing System: Excellent for off- 
line or finished VHS. 2:AG6500 record/edit decks, 
AGA650 controller. Best VHS avail. Time code inputs, 
ext sync, can be used with MIDI synchronizers. 9 
months old, low hours, perfect condition. $6500 or best 
offer. Ken (212) 675-2477. 

For Rent: 6-plate Steenbeck avail, for rent in your 
home or studio. $300/mo. This machine may also be 
available at a set location at a higher rate. 3-6 mo. rental 
preferred. Roberta (212) 874-7255. 

For Sale: Synchros w/ hds @ $200; diag splicer $75; 
816 hot splicer $325; Moviola M79 motor viewer/ 
synchro $1000; B&H interlock $700. 16mm 6-plate 
Cinemonta Editor $8,000. Sony 8650, 3650 1/2" EIAJ- 



1 B/W for sale or rent. (415) 444-3074. 

For Sale: Beaulieu R-16 w/ 12-120 Ang., batt., charg- 
er, case, $800. 10mm, 25mm, 75mm C & RX mt. 
Switars, b/o. B&H 35-16 hot splicer, $300. Macbeth 
TD 203 Densitometer, $425. 3-M Masterwipe Film 
Cleaner, $125. Arri-S pkg., call. Will trade items for J- 
Ks8gate. (412)422-0240. 

To Donate: Do you have video material on 1/2" open 
reel that needs to be transferred to a modern format? 
Company has a Panasonic Tape-a-vision NV-8020. 
Will donate to archivists in need. Call Gary Krauss 
(201) 499-3926. 



Freelancers 



Wanted: P/T Reps to book Shooting Stars Videogame. 
Our team of 4 shoots half-hour video shorts, using 
improvisation, with wedding guests, matriculating 
students, executive couples, disco customers, cruise 
passengers. Call David Shepherd (212) 777-7830. Next 
games: March 12. 

Director/Cinematographer: 10th year specializing in 
unusual in-camera effects for complete 16mm music 
videos. Shoot, cut, transfer. Cost effective true artistic 
filmmaking. Arriflex, Ang., Sachtler, Lowel, car. 40 
min. from NYC. Call for reel & rates. Gerard Yates 
(914) 764-8558. 

Photos by Les Simon: 35mm still photographer avail- 
able for location scouting, set shoots, publicity shoots 
or what have you. Experienced, reasonable. Box 2287, 
New York, NY 10009; (212) 724-2800 (service). 

Composer: Classically trained with Ph.D. in composi- 
tion & long-time interest in film, would like to do music 
for film or video. I work primarily with electronically 
generated or sampled sounds in my own studio. If you 
need music, call Michael at (212) 755-1641. 

Production Crew Sought (Ohio area only) by inde- 
pendent film producer for part-time, low budget dra- 
matic feature project. Needed are assistant camera op 
(16mm), production sound person, gaffer, grip & assis- 
tant director. Contact Paul (614) 268-5625 aft. 5pm 
Mon-Fri; anytime weekends. 

3/4" Editing: Sony BVUs with 4-trk mix/cassette, char, 
gen. $25/hr with editor. Location 3/4" shooting 2-man 
crew from $40/hr. Design, installation & maintenance 
of video & RF systems. Call Michael Posner (212) 691- 
0375. 

Video Production: Experienced crew with complete 
package, including Sony CCD Camera. BVU 1 10 with 
Time Code, Lowell DPs, Omnis & Totas. Full audio & 
many other extras. High quality VHS & 3/4" duplica- 
tion also available. Call (212) 319-5970. 

AC with Aaton available for your independent pro- 
duction. Incredibly low prices. Call (914) 234-7564. 

Sound Person with Nagra would like to work on your 
production. My rate is extremely low. Call (914) 234- 
7564. 

3/4" Video Production: Broadcast quality 3-tube Sony 
camera, deck, tripod, mikes, lights, background mate- 



rial, a/c van, w/ experienced cameraperson, very rea- 
sonable rates. Smart Video (212) 877-5545. 

Director/Cameraperson available with Ikegami 3/4" 
or Betacam packages — crew & additional equipment 
on request. 10 yrs documentary, broadcast & industrial 
experience. Rates negotiable. For reel & information, 
call Richard (212) 247-2471. 

Gaffer: 1 8' grip truck with loading room for camer- 
apersons. Lighting packages: 200W to 2K, generators. 
Call for information & rental prices. J. Anthony Pro- 
ductions (516) 294-1038. 

3/4" Video Production: 1-3 camera field & studio 
packages. Experienced cameraperson(s) and/or assis- 
tants. Will get you high end production values at rea- 
sonable rates. Call John Hession (212) 529-1254. 

Experienced Crew Needed: For 35mm independent 
low-budget feature shooting March-April. (Drama: 
original script). Production manager, DP, casting dir., 
AD, editor, art, sound, etc. Subway Films, Box 1542, 
New York, NY 10156. 

Cameraman with Own Equipment avail: 16SR, 35BL. 
Superspeed lenses, Z31 video camera, sound equip- 
ment, lighting van. Passport. Certified scuba diver. 
Speak French, a little Spanish. Call (212) 929-7728. 

Original Music Award-winning composer/producer 
available for interesting & quality projects. Film or 
video. Experienced professional. Complete production 
services from composing to finished soundtrack. Rates 
depend on project. (916) 769-5734, Dennis Rivellino. 

Production Manager w/ casting experience and an 
office in the heart of the film business is now available 
for your project. Features, industrials, commericals, 
music videos — no job too big or small. Call IFL (212) 
315-3670. 



Postproduction 



Sound Transfers: 16/35mm, all speeds & formats, 
including multi-track & time code. Full FX Library. 
Evening & weekend service available, convenient 
downtown location. Low rates. Downtown Transfer 
(212) 255-8698. 

Negative Matching: 35mm, super 16mm, 16mm cut 
for printing or video transfer. Credits include Jim Jar- 
musch, Wim Wenders & Lizzie Borden. Reliable re- 
sults at reasonable rates. One White Glove. Tim Bren- 
nan, 225 Lafayette St. #914. New York, NY 10012; 
(212) 966-9484. 

Negative Matching: Complete 35mm & 16mm serv- 
ice. Discount available to AIVF members & students. 
Contact Wood Lam (212) 633-0815. 

Super VHS Editing! 400-plus lines of resolution at 
3/4" prices. Interformat with 3/4" & standard VHS. 
Also full Super VHS production services available. 
Samuel D. Wolf Studios (212) 219-0396. 

3/4" Editing: Sony 5850 system w/ Chyron VP2 plus, 
TBC. scopes, SEG. digital FX. audio sweetening. Low 
prices, great editors. Highest quality video dupl. know n 
to man to & from 3/4" to VHS. Call (212) 319-5970. 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 39 



16mm Editing Room: Fully equipped with 6-plate 
Steenbeck & 24-hr access. Secure, convenient Upper 
West Side location (across street from Lincoln Center). 
Reasonable rates. Call Jeff Wisotsky Productions (212) 
971-5637. 

1 6mm Flatbeds for Rent 6-plate flatbeds for rent in 
your workspace or fully equipped downtown editing 
room with 24-hour access. Cheapest rates in NYC for 
independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions 
(212) 873-4470. 

Editors: Downtown Transfer offers Digital Sampling. 
Create room tone or ambience tracks by sampling brief 
pauses between words or quiet instant before "Action." 
Manipulate sound effects by stretching, shrinking, 
looping, changing pitch, tempo, attack. Full FX library. 
Downtown Transfer (212) 255-8698. 



No Membership Fee: 1/2" & 3/4" editing. Rent by the 
hour, day, week, or month! We'll try to beat any price in 
town! Editors also available. Call JH Productions (212) 
334-0002. 

3/4" Video Editing. 1/2" dubbing. $10/hr, you do it. 
$25/hr, we do it. Rm 440/Sony decks. West Village. 
Robby or Doron. (212) 620-9157. 

3/4" Off-Line editing complete w/ Sony BVU 800 
decks, Sony BVE 800 controller. Broadcast quality. 
Downtown. 24-hr access. Low prices. Martin Smith 
Productions (212) 925-6541. 

3/4" & 3/4" SP Broadcast Quality Editing w/ A/B 
roll, $95/hr incl. operator. Free special FX for AIVF 
members: slo-mo, freezes, 4-quad, graphics. Call 
HDTV Enterprises, near Lincoln Ctr (212) 874-4524. 



NOTICES 



18th ANNUAL 






Presents the 



An annual market for 
Producers & Distributors of 
non-theatrical films & videos. 
Both finished works and works 
in progress accepted. 

For entry forms and Information: 
The National Educational Film & 
Video Festival 

314 East 10th Street, Oakland, CA 94606 



Or call 415/ 465-6885/ 6891/ 6878 

Producer's Marketplace 

Entry deadline is April 8, 1988 




EDUCATIONAL VIDEO CENTER 

87 Lafayette Street • New York, NY 10013 • 212-219-8129 



DITING— $10/HR, $20/HR w/editor 

3 / 4 " SONY RM 440/5800-5850 

VHS JVC RM 86U/BR 8600U 

CHARACTER GENERATING— $25/HR 

SONY M3A CAMERA PACKAGE -S330/DAY 
INDEPENDENTS WELCOMED 



3/4" off line video editing facilities 

VALKHN VIDEO 

Award winning editing staff available 
Supervising editor Victor Kanefsky 

Sound effects library and sound transfers 
Lok-Box: film sound preparation for video sound mixing 
1600 Broadway, New York 

(212)586-1603 

Twenty years of film expertise brought to video editing 



Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others 
are included as space permits. The In- 
dependent reserves the right to edit for 
length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., March 8 for the May issue. 
Send notices to: Independent No- 
tices, FIVF, 625 Broadway, New York, 
NY 10012. 



Conferences • Workshops 

Documentary Film Program: Full-time, 9-mo. course 
of rigorous & personalized training in prof, film prod, 
offered at Anthropology Film Ctr. Combines research 
& scholarly interests in visual anthropology w/ experi- 
ence in all levels of the film industry. Students work w/ 
16mm film equip., covering camera, sound, lighting, 
editing, producing, directing, writing, fundraising & 
distrib. Fall semester begins Aug. 22. Contact: Anthro- 
pology Film Ctr., Box 493, Santa Fe, New Mexico 
87504-0493; (505) 983-4127. 

Video Primer: Workshop offers basic planning & 
operational skills in video prod. Incl. use & operation of 
portable camera systems, editing & prod, planning thru 
lectures, demonstration & hands-on experience. Sun- 
days, 1-5 pm, beg. Mar. 6. Contact: Intermedia Arts, 
425 Ontario St., SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414; (612) 
627-4444. 

NAMAC Conference: The 1988 Nat'l Alliance of 
Media Arts Centers' annual conference will be held in 
conjunction w/ 12th Atlanta Film & Video Festival. 
May 18-21 at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Geor- 
gia. Main theme: Media Arts Exhibition, w/ AFVF 
screenings held each evening. Topics incl. marketing/ 
publicity/audience development; info services; criti- 
cism/program notes/aesthetics of media arts; artists' 
concerns; exhibition technology/hardware; intermedia 
arts. Contact: NAMAC, c/o IMAGE Film/Video Ctr., 
75 Bennett St., NW, Ste. M-l, Atlanta, GA 30309: 
(404) 352-4225. 

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts: Upcoming semi- 
nars incl.: not-for-profit incorporation, Mar. 2, 16 & 30; 
Accountants for the Public Interest & VLA payroll & 
govt, reporting requirements. Mar. 21. Contact: VLA, 
1285 Ave. of the Americas, 3rd fl., New York, NY 
10019; (212) 977-9270. 

Collective for Living Cinema: Film workshops in 
sound recording techniques. Mar. 12 & 13; 16mm 
editing, Mar. 19, 20, 26 & 27; Optical Printing, Mar. 26, 
27 & 29. Contact: Collective, 41 White St., New York, 
NY 10013; (212) 925-3926. 

Cable in the City: 3rd annual conference of Video 
Metro NYC to be held Mar. 24, 9-3pm at Borough of 
Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers St., 
New York, NY 10007. Will address issues surrounding 
cable TV industry in NYC in anticipation of wiring of 
all 5 boros. Contact: James Pawlak, Conf. Dir., (212) 
618-1832. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



Professional Video Training Program: Borough of 
Manhattan Community College has expanded course 
offerings in program that retrains film professionals to 
work in video. Offers new on-line A/B edit suite, video 
graphics lab & seminars in managing small businesses. 
All courses & materials free to students. Contact: Dean 
Sandra Poster; (212) 618-1573 or Emily Armstrong, 
(212) 618-1387/88, BMCC, 199 Chambers St., New 
York, NY 10007; (212) 618-1605. 

Pioneering Documentarians will discuss the docu- 
mentary form at 2-day seminar presented by Global 
Village in cooperation w/ Media Studies Program at 
New School. Held at May Theater, 66 5th Ave., Parsons 
Bldg., Apr.9& 10, 10-5pm.Cost:$150.Preregistration 
or AIVF members, $125. Contact: Global Village; 
(212) 966-7526. 

American Film Institute: Seminars in March: Financ- 
ing Options, Mar. 12, Writers Guild Theater, 135 S. 
Doheny Dr., Los Angeles; Art of Prod. Design, Mar. 12 
& 13 & Nuts & Bolts of Video Postproduction, Mar. 5, 
AFI Campus, Los Angeles; Actors' Workshop: Choos- 
ing an Agent, Mar. 5, Mark Goodson Theater, Dept. of 
Cultural Affairs, 2 Columbus Circle, NYC; Financing 
& Marketing Independent Film & Video, Mar. 5 & Art 
of Film Direction, Mar. 12 & 13, Shoreline Community 
College. 16101 Greenwood Ave. N, Seattle, WA.; Film 
Scheduling & Budgeting, Mar. 12 & 13, Holiday Inn, 
801 Calhoun St., Houston, TX. Contact: AH, Box 
27999, 2021 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027; 
(800) 221-6248; (213) 856-7690. 

Art Hazards Symposium: Call for papers for Safety 
Issues in the Practices of Art & Art Conservation 
symposium to be held at American Chemical Society 
Annual Mtg., Sept. 25-30 in LA. Deadline: Apr. 30 for 
notification of intent & May 15 for abstract. Contact: 
Mary Virginia Orna, Box 12233, Nat'l Institute for 
Environmental Health Sciences, Mail Drop 10-03, 
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709; (919) 541-3259. 

ITS/NATPE 1st Int'l Teleproduction Conference 
& Exhibition will be held June 25-28 at Los Angeles 
Convention-Exhibition Ctr. Contact: Susan Stanco, 
ITS Dir. of Conference Marketing, Int'l Teleproduc- 
tion Society, 990 6th Ave., Ste. 2 IE, New York, NY 
10018; (212)629-3266. 

Canadian Independent Film & Video Alliance: 
Annual general mtg. to be held June 1-4 in Vancouver. 
Contact: Martine Sauvageau, (514) 277-0328, coordi- 
nator, or Peg Cambell, (604) 669-3253, dir. of the 
board. 

Union for Democratic Communications: Annual 
conferenc — Communication, Culture, Socialism — to 
be held at Carleton Univ., Ottawa, Canada, Apr. 28- 
May 1. Contact: Centre for Communication, Culture & 
Society, Carleton Univ., Ottawa, Ontario, K15 5B6. 
Canada; (613)564-7432. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

The Media Show. Channel 4 magazine-format pro- 
gram dealing with film, TV, press, advertising & print, 
seeks films/tapes. Please send videos or proposals for 
work-in-progress to: Kate Newington, Wall to Wall 
Television Ltd., 1 Richmond Mews, Off Nead St., 
London W1V 5 AG, England. 

EZTV Video Center seeks independent work in all 
genres for its regular screening program. 3/4" preferred. 



any length, but especially interested in long-form (fea- 
ture-length) or multi-disciplinary pieces. Send tapes & 
SASE to: Screening Committee, EZTV, 8547 Santa 
Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069. 

C.A.G.E. Seeks proposals for 1988-89 video art pro- 
gramming year for tapes by individuals & new projects 
by curators. Honorarium &/or tape rental available for 
selected artists & curators. Contact: James Duesing, 
C.A.G.E., 344 W. 4th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; (513) 
381-2437. 

New Day Films, self-distribution coop for independent 
producers, seeks new members w/ recent social issue 
doc. Priority areas: culture, environment, family, gay/ 
lesbian, health, disabilities, labor, minority. Also young 
adult issues/progressive films for young people. Appl. 
deadline: Apr. 1. Contact: Ralph Arlyck, 79 Raymond 
Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. 

Submit Videos to Infermental-Tokyo, independent 
int'l video program edited in different country each yr. 
Max. length, 10 mins. Works for touring exhibition 
paid initial 7,000 yen, plus 50% of rental, sale, or 
broadcast proceeds shared equally among artists. Over- 
all theme: "In the Afterglow of TV Land." Subjects: 
Godzilla, Infomania (media addiction), Limbo Hour 
(the variety show as the resting place of TV ghosts), 
Canned Laughter, Broadcast Shadows (marginaliza- 
tion/colonization of viewers through image selection/ 
presentation). Send tapes w/ SASE to: Infermental- 
Tokyo, Media Mix, 1-14-14 Tomigaya, 2F, Shibuya, 
Tokyo 151, Japan; 81(3)485-7011 or Infermental- 
Vancouver, c/o Hank Bull, Western Front, 303 E. 8th 
Ave., Vancouver, BC V5T 1S1, Canada; (604) 876- 
1548. 

Citychannel 8: Govt communications cable channel 
for the city of W. Hollywood, CA seeks programs for 
'88 schedule, in 3/4" video or 16mm film. Contact: Jon 
Merritt, Citychannel 8, City Hall, 861 1 Santa Monica 
Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069-4109; (213) 854- 
7471. 

Zieman Productions creates music videos using stock 
footage & recut films. Interested in buying nonexclu- 
sive rights for film footage to use in videos. Looking for 
quality dramatic, dance, performance, industrials w/ 
dramatic or illustrative scenes suitable for use in rock, 
country, blues, pop & show-tune music videos. Pay 
competitive rates for footage & will supply 1" master, 
if usable. Contact: John Hession; (212) 529-1254 or 
send short description to Zieman Prods, 2 Bleecker St., 
New York, NY 10012. 

Independent Eye, KQED-San Francisco's monthly 
showcase for film & videomakers, seeks works 1-20 
min. long that fuse performing arts & TV broadcast. 
Dance, music, comedy, theater, performance & video/ 
film art pieces welcome. Traditional doc format not 
acceptable. For appl. contact: KQED, 500 8th Street, 
San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 553-2269. 

The Terminal: New gallery/performance space seeks 
experimental films for monthly screenings. Objective 
to show film artists' work to dance/performance/fine 
artists & create a new outlet for experimental 
filmmakers. Contact: Suzanne Boucher (212) 254- 
5958 or Terminal (718) 783-8946. 

Distributor seeks ind. films & videos for health care 
& library markets, particularly work dealing w/ mater- 
nal/child health, nutrition & handicaps. Offering effec- 
tive direct mail promo. Contact: Motion, Inc. (202) 
363-9450. 




FOOTAGE. 

It's just a phone call away. 
Footage from silent films, 
feature films, newsreels, doc- 
umentaries, industrial films 
and more. Fully cleared for 
use in your productions. 

Our computerized system 
assures fast access. Call or 
write for a free brochure and 
sample reel. 



Archive Film 

Productions, Inc. 

Stock Footage Library 

212/620-3955 

Dept. 1, 530 West 25th Street 

New York, NY 10001 USA 

Fax 212/645-2137 Telex: 822023 



EDITING COSTS 
RUN AMOK? 

BUDGETS IN CHAOS? 

There is an alternative! 

Regain control of your project 
creatively and financially. 

Edit it yourself on VHS 
at 29th Street Video. 

D New JVC BR 8600/RM 86-U 
System 

□ SEG 

□ VHS Duplication 

□ Optional Character Generator 

□ SMPTE Burn-ins available 

□ Low Rates 




STREET VIDEO, IMC 

Call us at (212) 594-7530. 
We're committed to your success. 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 41 



Health Media Distributor w/ active line of AIDS- 
related films & videos seeks additional new produc- 
tions on AIDS for distribution. Maximum exposure 
guaranteed, high royalities. (217) 384-4838, collect. 



Opportunities • Gigs 



Screenplays Wanted: Completed low-budget feature 
film screenplays of all types. Please submit w/ a synop- 
sis or treatment & SASE to: Richard Dietz, 1356 
Whispering Springs Cr., Palatine, EL 60074. 

Media Internships Available. Women Make Movies, 
a nonprofit feminist media distr. organization, is now 
seeking interns or work/study students for work as 
distrib., promotion & program ass'ts. Contact: Celia 
Chong, WMM, 225 Lafayette St., Rm. 21 1, New York, 
NY 10012; (212)925-0606. 

Video/Film Artist: Several positions anticipated in 
Visual Arts Dept. of UC/San Diego. Seeks video/ 
filmmaker who has made a distinctive & original con- 
tribution to the field. Must have broad knowledge & 
work experience. Substantial exhibition record & col- 
lege teaching exp. required. Part-time or possibly full- 
time position(s) to replace faculty on leave for the '88- 
89 academic yr. Write: David Antin, chair, Visual Arts 
(B-027), Univ. of Calif., San Diego, La Jolla, CA 
92093. 

Video Editor/Shooter: Public Interest Video Net- 
work seeks experienced & highly creative doc. editor to 
become part of award-winning team. Assist in all 
phases of planning & prod., strong technical skills & 
imagination imperative. Experience w/ graphics, cam- 
era & sound, writing & producing skills a plus. Must 
have good interpersonal skills. Help meet challenges of 
creating compelling issue-oriented programs. Resume 
& reel to D. Murton, PIVN, 2309 18th St. NW, Wash- 
ington, DC 20009. 

CATNIP: If you enjoy traveling & wish to connect with 
other artists while you do so, then Creative Artists 
Travel Network-Int'l Program may interest you. Con- 
tact: Sara Fox. Box 574963. Orlando, FL 32857-4963. 



Publications • Software 



Philadelphia Film Office Publications: The Reel 
Philadelphia: A Guide to City Services; Philadelphia 
Prod. Manual. 2nd Edition & Philadelphia Film Invest- 
ment Newsletter. Contact: Philadelphia Film Office, 
1 20 Municipal Services Bldg. . Philadelphia, PA 1 9 1 02; 
(215) 686-2668. 

Women Make Movies: 15th anniv. catalogue avail- 
able. More than 100 titles, largest collection of films & 
videos by & about women in the US. Contact: WMM, 
225 Lafayette St., Rm. 211, New York, NY 10012; 
(212) 925-0606. 

Fiat Lux: Program of super 8/8mm experimental films 
from US now available for exhibition. Curated by Al 
Nigrin & cosponsored by Int'l Ctr. for 8mm Film & 
Video (Somerville, MA) & MediaMix (New Brun- 
swick, NJ). Films by Gary Adelstein, Bob Brodsky & 
Toni Treadway, Marjorie Keller, Richard Lerman, 
Dennis Lipp, A.G. Nigrin, Owen OToole. Jerry Orr, 
M.E. Sokolowski, Scott Stark, Willie Varela, Jacalyn 



White & Darrell Wilson. Available for rental in 3/4" U- 
Matic or 1/2" VHS. Contact: Al Nigrin, Light Phar- 
macy Films. 5 S. Adelaide Ave., Highland Park, NJ 
08904; (201) 249-9623. 

Art of Filing: Tax workbook for visual, performing & 
literary artists & other self-employed professionals 
now available from Resources & Counseling, United 
Arts. Cost: $12.95/ea. (MN residents add 6% tax), plus 
$1.50 postage & handling. Make check payable to 
United Arts, R&C/UA, 41 1 Landmark Ctr., 75 W. 5th 
St., St. Paul, MN 55102; (612) 292-4381. 

Composition: Canadian Independent Film & Video 
Quarterly: Subscriptions: $6/yr individuals, $10/yr 
institutions. Contact: Composition, Box 115, 260 
Adelaide E., Toronto, Ontario, M5A 1NO, Canada. 

NFCB's Fairness Doctrine Forum: 1st in series of 
forums in Community Radio Monthly discusses fair- 
ness doctrine. Available from National Federation of 
Community Broadcasters; (202) 797-8911. 



Resources • Funds 



National Endowment for the Humanities: Next 
deadline for humanities projects in media: Mar. 18. 
Contact: James Dougherty, Media Program. Also. RFP 
for Planning Grants for Public Programs on the Colum- 
bian Quincentenary, incl. symposia, film series w/ 
colloquia, panel exhibits, etc. that bring humanities to 
general public. Contact: Public Humanities Projects, 
Columbian Quincentenary, Planning Grants, Division 
of General Programs, Rm. 426, NEH, 1 100 Pennsylva- 
nia Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20506; (202) 786-0378. 

Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Open So- 
licitation deadline: Apr. 22. For appls, contact: CPB, 
1 1 1 1 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 955- 
5100. 

Intermedia Arts Minnesota: Grants to Interdiscipli- 
nary Artists program funded by NEA & Rockefeller 
Fnd. awards S2.500 to $7,000 for works involving 2 or 
more art forms, to artists from MN. IA, ND, SD & WI. 
Contact: Al Kosters, Intermedia Arts MN, 425 Ontario 
St., SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414; (612) 627-4444. 

Jerome Media Art Installation Commissions. 
funded by Jerome Foundation & administered by Inter- 
media Arts MN, award $2000 to 3 emerging artists. 
Installations will be exhibited for 1 mo. at Intermedia 
Arts Gallery. Deadline: March 18. For guidelines & 
appl., contact: John Maliga, Intermedia Arts MN, 425 
Ontario St., SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414; (612) 627- 
4444. 

Midatlantic Arts Foundation: Visual Arts Resi- 
dency Program appl. deadline: July 15. Contact: Mid- 
Atlantic Arts Foundation, 1 1 E. Chase St., Ste. 1 A, Bal- 
timore, MD 21202; (301) 539-6656. 

New York Council on the Humanities: Proposals for 
project support deadline: June 1. Contact: NYCH, 198 
Broadway, 10th fl.. New York, NY 10038; (212) 233- 
1131. 

Real Art Ways Audio & Video Access Center avail- 
able to ind. producers. Multi-track recording studio & 
3/4" shooting & editing video facility. Subsidies of- 
fered for portion of user cost. Consultation, production 
& technical assistance also provided. Contact: Marty 
Fegy, technical director or Victor Velt, video curator. 



Real Art Ways, 94 Allyn St., Hartford, CT, 06103- 
1402. 

RISCA Deadlines: Rhode Island State Council on the 
Arts project support appl. deadline: Mar. 1; individual 
fellowships. Mar. 15; general operating support, Apr. 
15. Contact: RISCA, 312 Wickenden St., Providence, 
RI 02903. 

South Carolina Arts Commission Grant deadlines: 
May 15 & Aug. 15 for individuals & orgs. Contact: SC 
Arts Comm., 1800 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201; 
(803)734-8696. 

Apparatus Productions, nonprofit org, seeks scripts 
for short exp. narrative films planned for prod, in spring 
'88. For appl. send SASE to 225 Lafayette, Rm. 507, 
New York, NY 10012. 

Film/Video Proiect Sponsorship: Collective for Liv- 
ing Cinema serves as nonprofit sponsorship organiza- 
tion for selected film & video projects. For information 
& guidelines contact: Jack Walsh, Collective for Living 
Cinema, 4 1 White St., New York, NY 1 001 3; (2 1 2) 925- 
3926. 

The Womens Project of the Paul Robeson Fund for 
Film & Video will award $50,000 in grants to women 
film- and videomakers for all phases of production & 
distribution. No student productions, unless copyright 
owned by director, and no male codirectors. Deadline: 
March 7. For appl. contact: The Funding Exchange, 666 
Broadway, New York, NY 10012; for info, call Lillian 
Jimenez at (212) 292-0062. 



Trims & Glitches 



Kudos to Demetria Royals & Louise Diamond of 
Rebekah Films for New York State Council on the Arts 
grant & Global Village artist-in-residency to Royals for 
their project. 

Reynold Weidenaar's The Thundering Scream of the 
Seraphim's Delight was awarded Certificate of Merit at 
23rd Chicago Int'l Film Festival & received Work of 
Special Distinction Award at 10th Tokyo Video Festi- 
val. Congratulations! 

Kudos to Nina Menkes, who was awarded Special Jury 
Prize for Magdalena Viraga at 3rd Annual Festival 
International de Cinema de Troia in Portugal. 

Water Baby: Experiences of Water Birth has won 
honors at Columbus Video Festival & International 
Film & TV Festival for its producer/director Karil 
Daniels. Congrats! 

Congratulations to Marlon Riggs, who earned 1987 
MAMA Award for independent film & video for his 
tape Ethnic Notions. 

Kudos to Ellen Meyers, whose documentary Just Keep 
Going earned gold plaque at Chicago Int'l Film Festival 
& Gold Medal for Best Documentary at CAN Fest 
sponsored by Illinois Community Television Associa- 
tion. 

Kudos to Ordinary People series on Learning Channel, 
nominated for ACE award as best informational docu- 
mentary series. 2nd ACE nomination went to John 
O'Neal for best dramatic writing for Junebug Jabbo 
Jones, an independent work produced by Stevenson 
Palfi which was shown as part of Ordinary People. 



42 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 



Kudos to AIVF members awarded production grants 
from New York Council on the Humanities: Yvonne 
Rainer & Berenice Reynaud for Sexism, Colonialism, 
Misrepresentation: A Corrective Film Series, Stepha- 
nie Black for The Hands That Feed Us & Amy Chen for 
McCarthyism & Chinatown. 

Congrats to AIVF members accepted into American 
Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women: Doris 
Chase, Mary Dore, Lucy Winer & alternates Micki 
Dickoff, Sharon Greytak & Julia Robinson. 



FIVF THANKS 

The Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film (FIVF), the foundation affiliate of the 
Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers (AIVF), supports a variety of 
programs and services for the independent 
producer community, including publication 
of The Independent, maintenance of the 
Festival Bureau, seminars and workshops, 
an information clearinghouse, and a grant 
making program. None of this work would 
be possible without the generous support of 
the following agencies, foundations and 
organizations: The New York State Council 
on the Arts, the National Endowment for the 
Arts, a federal agency, the Governor's Office 
of Motion Picture and Television Develop- 
ment, the Morgan Guaranty Trust Company 
of New York, the Consolidated Edison Com- 
pany of New York, the Benton Foundation, 
the Funding Exchange, and the dozens of 
organizations that advertise in The Indepen- 
dent. 



MEMBER DISCOUNTS 

AIVF is pleased to announce a discount 
program of film ansd video production services 
for its members. The companies listed below 
will offer discounts to AIVF members upon 
presentation of a membership card. We hope 
that this program will foster closer cooperation 
between independent producers & com- 
panies that provide production services. 

Indlefex 

Randal Alan Goya 

949 Amsterdam Ave.. #4N 
New York. NY 10025 
(212) 678-7989 

10% discount on high-quality FX & foleys. 

Fine Line Productions 
Mark Freeman 

31 81 A Mission St. 

San Francisco. CA 941 10 

(415)821-9946 

15% discount on 1/2" equipment & editing 
facilities. Preproduction consultation services, 
screening facility & 3/4" to VHS dubbing also. 

Bill Creston 

727 Ave. of the Americas (at 23rd St.) 
New York. NY 10010 
(212)924-4893 

10% discount on all super 8 film &. sound pro- 
duction services, including editing & sound 
transfers VHS-to-VHS dubs. 




Grip and 

Camera Truck 
Award Winning Film 

and Video Crews 

24221 John R. 
Hazel Park, Michigan 48030 





RAIN FOREST FILMS 



Film & Video 
Production Co. 

Independent Producers 

Fully equipped & Portable 

Reasonable rates 

• Commercials • 

• Music Videos • 
• Documentaries • 

• Industrials • 
It's not just equipment that 
makes a good crew, it's the 
creative talent that puts it to use. 

Call For Demo Reel 

(718)279-0273 



SYIM ESTHETICS 

Integrated Media Productions 

—VIDEO— 

» Complete post-production 

management 
» Off-line interformat editing 
» EDL generation 
» Striping/burn-in 

—GRAPHICS— 

» Logo creation 

» Full color paint system 

• Image digitization/effects 

• Slide/prints from video 

• Full 3D modeling w/texture 
mapping 

—AUDIO— 

• Midi music synthesis 

• Music scored for video/film 

• Narration recording 

• Sound effects, overdubs, lay-backs 

58 Walker St. • NYC 10013 
212-431-4112 



MARCH 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 43 



MEMORANDA 



TES OF THE AIVF/FIVF BOARD OF DIRECTORS 



At its meeting on December 12, 1987, the AIVF 
Board of Directors elected officers, installed two 
former alternate members to full board positions, 
established a task force to improve the 
organization's communications with its member- 
ship and to increase its visibility in the industry, 
and undertook to identify potential AIVF regional 
representatives around the country. In addition, 
the board was advised that the John D. and Cath- 
erine T. MacArthur Foundation had granted 
AIVF's affiliate, the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, $15,000 for the publication of a 
national independent producer directory. 

As a preliminary matter, independent producer 
Rachel Field and syndicator/distributor Richard 
Lorber — first and second alternates following last 
summer's election — were shifted to full AIVF 
board duties, while board members Tom Luddy 
(Zoetrope Productions) and John Taylor Wil- 
liams (an entertainment lawyer from Boston) 
were transfered to the FIVF board. 

The first item of new business was the election 
of officers. Documentary producer Robert Rich- 
ter was re-elected president of the board. Loni 
Ding, a San Francisco independent, was elected to 
the position of vice president. Rachel Field was 
elected chairperson. Wendy Lidell, an interna- 
tional film packager and former AIVF Festival 
Bureau director, was appointed secretary. Rich- 
ard Lorber will serve as treasurer. The board also 
formally reappointed Lawrence Sapadin as ex- 
ecutive director. 

The full board took the opportunity to formally 
support, upon the recommendation of the Advo- 
cacy and Executive Committees, advocacy to cre- 



ate a National Independent Program Service dedi- 
cated exclusively to the production, acquisition, 
distribution, and promotion of independently pro- 
duced programs for public television, and the leg- 
islative guarantee for the minority programming 
consortia. These positions had been approved ear- 
lier by AIVF's Executive Committee. 

The board also unanimously agreed to continue 
FIVF's Donor-Advised Film and Video Fund. 
The fund was established in 1987 on a pilot basis 
to assist foundations interested in funding media 
projects. In September 1987 the fund distributed 
$40,000 from the Benton Foundation and the Bel- 
don Fund for media projects on the subjects of 
peace and the environment. In 1988, the Benton 
Foundation will also be seeking to fund media 
projects that address the role of media in society. 
FIVF expects to increase the fund for 1988 by 
encouraging other foundations to participate. 

The board discussed its role in selecting award 
winners for the 1988 Indie Awards. In the past, 
while nominations were solicited from AIVF 
members, the board exercised discretion in the 
final selection and permitted itself, in exceptional 
circumstances, to add nominations during the de- 
liberation process. The board resolved, in the in- 
terest of clarity, to advise AIVF members that the 
awards are made at the discretion of the board 
based upon, but not necessarily limited to, nomi- 
nations by members. 

The board established a Task Force on Public 
Relations to explore ways in which AIVF can 
improve communications about its services and 
activities with its members, and increase its visi- 
bility in the industry. This Task Force will review 



proposals with staff and make recommendation at 
the June board meeting. 

In a related move, the board created another 
informal committee to look into the feasibility of 
identifying and selecting regional AIVF repre- 
sentatives, on a volunteer basis, to promote mem- 
bership outside of the New York Metropolitan 
area. 

Staff reports included news from executive di- 
rector Lawrence Sapadin that the MacArthur 
Foundation had granted FIVF $ 1 5,000 to publish 
a directory of independent producers and their 
skills. Independent editor Martha Gever reported 
that the magazine was seeking a new advertising 
representative; Independent managing editor Pat 
Thomson reported that, based upon the readers' 
survey included in The Independent last summer, 
the magazine has a readership of approximately 
18,000 — greater than anticipated. Festival Bu- 
reau director Kathryn Bowser reported that the 
1 986- 1 988 edition of the AIVF Guide to Interna- 
tional Film and Video Festivals is ready for pro- 
duction and will be available this winter. Finan- 
cial manager Morton Marks reported that AIVF/ 
FIVF can now take payment for all transactions 
by Mastercard or Visa. Seminar director Ethan 
Young announced that AIVF has begun a national 
marketing effort to distribute tapes of its seminars 
and panel discussions and distributed audiocas- 
settes of a recent seminar to the board. 

The next meeting of the board is scheduled for 
March 19, 1988, at AIVF's offices. AIVF mem- 
bers are welcome to attend. Telephone in advance 
to confirm time and place. 



CORRECTIONS 

Two lines were inadvertently dropped from 
Deirdre Tower's article in the December issue of 
The Independent, "Pas de Deux: Choreographers 
and Producers Pair Up at Sundance." The top of 
the middle column on page nine should read: 
"There was a cry for a stronger vision from many 
of the artists." The beginning of the adjacent 
column should read: "Blumberg chose to develop 
a piece revolving around giant bubbles with a 
maximum lifespan of about 20 seconds. Known 
for his films on such oddities as Eskimo Olym- 
pics, elephant races, and double Dutch jump-rope 
contests, Blumberg found the Sundance experi- 
ence to be greatly rewarding." We apologize for 
the omission. 

In an item in "Media Clips" in the December 
1987 issue of The Independent, we erroneously 
noted Sam Brody's date of birth as September 8, 
1907; Brody was born on January 1, 1907. 



ADVOCACY SUPPORT 
GOES ON 

The AIVF/Emergency Legislative Fund was es- 
tablished last fall to subsidize lobbying efforts to 
establish a National Independent Program Service 
that will guarantee the funding, promotion, and 
distribution of independent production for public 
television. 

We wish to thank the following individuals for 
their contributions: Joyce Bolinger, Frank Brit- 
tain, Jem Cohen, Barbara A. and Joseph C. 
D'Alessandro, Mansour Ali Faridi, Kaja Gam 
Henriksen, Grania Gurievitch, Nina Koocher, 
Ross McElwee, Mark Mori, Stevenson Palfi, 
Daniel Reeves, Marc Weiss, Nancy Yasecko. 



AIVF 

Annual Membership 
Meeting 



OiscyssiON of AIVF Activities, Nominations 
for AIVF Board of Directors, 
Refreshments and Camaraderie 

March 18 (Friday) 
8 p.m. 

New York City location to be announced. 
Watch your mail for more details. 



44 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1988 




Start on EASTMAN. 

Finish on EASTMAN. 

Film • Tape 




Eastman Kodak Company, Motion Picture and Audiovisual Products Division 

Atlanta: 404/351-6510 • Chicago: 312/218-5174 • Dallas: 214/506-9700 • Hollywood: 213/464-6131 • Honolulu: 808/833-1661 • New York: 212/930-8000 

Rochester: 716/254-1 300 • Washington. DC: 703/558-9220 • Montreal: 514/761-3481 • Toronto: 4 16/766-8233 • Vancouver 604/987-8191. 

© Eastman Kodak Company. 1986 



PRODUCERS! RESEARCHERS! LIBRARIANS! PROGRAM MAKERS! 



5 REASONS FOR USING THE WTN LIBRARY 

* THREE GREAT LIBRARIES IN ONE: WTN + ITN + U.K. PATHE NEWS 

* NINE DECADES OF MOVING PICTURES FROM 1897 TO 1988 

* ALL THE WORLD'S GREAT EVENTS OF HISTORY CAPTURED ON 
FILM OR TAPE ^SK^ 

* BACKGROUND AND STOCK FOOTAGE FOR sSRS 
ALL VIDEO PRODUCTIONS """ rf*^ 

* ACHIEVEMENTS, DISASTERS, LOCATIONS, W^TfRfl 
PERSONALITIES, SPORTS ... AND MORE! m^b 

Contact Vince O'Reilly, U.S. Library Manager, 

Worldwide Television News Corp., 1995 Broadway, New York, NY 10023. 

Phone (212) 362 4440 Telecopier (212) 496 1269 Telex 237853. 



"Brilliantly conceived 
and clearly articulated? 

—GENE REYNOLDS, Producer, "M*A*S*H," "Lou Grant" 



"Incredible insight and clarity, pas- 
sionately delivered. I couldn't have 
had a more enlightening experience." 
—MARK RYDELL, Director "On 
Golden Pond," "The River" 

"He not only taught me things I 
didn't know but made what I do 
know better." 

— RENEE TAYLOR, Screenwriter 
"Lovers and Other Strangers" 

"Remarkably informative." 
—DAVID KEMPER, CBS Program 
Executive 



"Excellent. McKee knows his stuff 
and how to teach it." 
—JOAN MICKLIN SILVER, Screen- 
writer "Hester Street," "Chilly 
Scenes of Winter" 

"He makes the screenwriter's craft 
a proud profession." 
— LYNNE LITMAN, Director "Tes- 
tament," "Number Our Days" 

"McKee's course should be taken by 
anyone involved with movies." 
—MICHAEL HERTZBERG, Produ- 
cer "Blazing Saddles," "Twelve 
Chairs" 



"Failure to make the story work is the chief cause for the rejection of 
manuscripts. In Hollywood, it is virtually the only reason." 
—ROBERT McKEE, Author of the forthcoming "STORY: The Craft of the 
Screenwriter, Novelist and Playwright." Published by Warner Books. 

March 18, 19, 20 



Robert McKee's Story Structure 

An intensive course for writers, producers, 
directors, and industry executives. 

212-463-7889 





FIVF 

625 Broadway, 9th floor 

New York, NY 10012 


NON-PROFIT ORG 
U.S. POSTAGE 

PAID 

New York, N.Y. 
Permit No.7089 







APRIL 1988 




FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY $2. 50 




I 



\ 



STRUCTURI 
SOVIET CINEMA 




NISSAN PRESENTS 




TWELFTH ANNUALSTUDENT FILM AWARDS 
IN CONJUNCTION WITH EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY 



This is your chance ol a lifetime to 
make your break, win your share ol 
over $100, 000 in cash prizes and 
Nissan automobiles and gain recog- 
nition in the film community 

Enter your best work now. The entry 
you submit must have been produced 
on a non-commercial basis while you 
were enrolled In a US college, univer- 
sity, art institute or film school. 

NARRATIVE 
FILM 

Finished 16mm film. 34,500 awarded 
in cash prizes First-place winner re- 
ceives a new Nissan Sentra. SPON- 
SORED BYAMBUN ENTERTAINMENT 
INC. Board ol Judges: Lewis Allen, 
Joe Dante, Nina Foch, Randa Haines, 
Randal Kleiser 




DOCUMENTARY 
FILM 

Finished 16mm film. S4.500 awarded 
in cash prizes. First-place winner re- 
ceives a new Nissan Sentra. SPON- 
SORED BY JOHN BADHAMS GREAT 
AMERICAN PICTURE SHOW. Board 
ol Judges: Saul Bass, Lance Bird, 
Maria Flono, Victoria Mudd Humberto 
Rivera. 




ANIMATED/ 

EXPERIMENTAL 

FILM 

Finished 16mm film. $4,500 awarded 
in cash prizes. First-place winner re- 
ceives a new Nissan Sentra SPON- 
SORED BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES. 
Board of Judges: John Canemaker, 
Ed Hansen, Faith Hubley, Chuck Jones, 
Harry Love. ^0^^ 

SCREEN WRITING 

Original feature-length screenplays. 
$4,500 awarded in cash prizes. First- 
place winner receives a new Nissan 
Sentra. SPONSORED BY COLUMBIA 
PICTURES Board of Judges: Marisa 
Berke, Tony Bill, Syd Field, Anne Kramer, 
Midge Sanford. 




SOUND 
ACHIEVEMENT 

Finished 16mm film. $2, 000 cash prize. 
SPONSORED BY DOLBY LABORATORIES 
INC. Board of Judges: Gary Bourgeois, 
Donald 0. Mitchell, Frank Warner. 




FILMED/TING 

Finished 16mm film. $2,000 awarded in 
cash prizes. SPONSORED BY LOR/MAR 
FILM ENTERTAINMENT. Board of 
Judges: Lynzee Klmgman, Carol Littleton, 
Richard Marks. 



<] Marks, ^m 



& 



WOMENINFILM 

FOUNDATION 

AWARD 

Finished 16mm film or feature-length 
screenplay. $1,000 cash prize. SPON- 
SORED BY MAX FACTOR S CO. Board 
of Judges: Judy James, llene Kahn, 
Margot Winchester ^^» 



RENEEVALENTE 

PRODUCERS 

AWARD 

In honor of Renee Valenle, Honorary 
Chairperson of FOCUS and former 
president of the Producers Guild of 
America. Finished 16mm film. $1,000 
cash prize. Board of Judges: Alan Bafkm, 
Barney Bosenzweig, Renee Valente. 



CINEMATOGRAPHY 

Finished '16mm film. $2,000 awarded in 
cash prizes. SPONSORED BY EASTMAN 
KODAK COMPANY Board ol Judges: 
John Bailey, Allan Daviau, Jim Glennon. 



• 



INSTITUTIONAL 
AWARDS 

The corresponding college or university 
of the First-place winners of the Narrative, 
Documentary and ' Animated I Experi- 
mental 'Categories of FOCUS will receive 
$1, 000 in Eastman motion picture film 
and videotape from EASTMAN KODAK 
COMPANY tor their film department's use. 




FOCUSAWARD 
CEREMONY 

All winners will be flown, expenses 
paid, to Los Angeles for the FOCUS 
Award Ceremony, to be held August 30, 
1988 at the Directors Guild Theater. 
Accommodations will be provided by 
The Westin Bonaventure. 

COMPETITION 

DEADLINE: 
APRIL 25,1988 

Get a complete set of rules from your 
English, Film or Communications 
Department. Or write to: FOCOS, 1140 
Avenue of the Americas, New York, 
New York 10036 (2121 575-0270. 



BOARD OF GOVERNORS: Lewis Allen • John Avildsen ■ John Badham • Ingmar Bergman • Tony Bill • Mitchell Block • Barbers Boyle • James Coburn • Jules Dassm ■ John Oavis • Robert BeNiro • Stanley Donen ■ 
Richard Edlund, AS.C' Fedenco FeU • Milos For man ■ John Frankenheimer ■ Robert Gelchell ■ Bruce Gilbert • Taylor Hacklord ■ Ward Kimball ■ Herbert Kline ■ Arthur Knight • Barbara Kopple • Jennings Lang 'David Lean' 
Jack Lemmon • Lyme Unman ■ Sidney Lumet • Frank Perry • Sydney Pollack • Bavid Puttnam ■ Ivan Reitman • Burt Reynolds • Gene Roddenberry ■ Herbert Ross • David E Salzman ■ John Schlesinger ■ George C. Scott ■ 
Stirling Silliphanl » Joan Micklm Silver • Neil Simon ■ Steven Spielberg ■ Peter Strauss ■ Jerry Wemlraub ■ Gene S. Weiss * Bruce Williamson ■ Robert Wise ■ Fredenck Wiseman ■ Band Wolper • Peter Yates • Charlotte Zwerin. 
HONORARY CHAIRPERSON: Renee Valenle ADMIN1STRA TION: TRG Communications. Inc MAJOR SPONSOR Nissan Motor Corporation in dSA „,„ «.„«._-«« <—_ . 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INXPEWENr 



APRIL 1988 

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 3 



Publisher 

Editor 

Managing Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff 

Production Staff 

Art Director 

Advertising 

National Distributor 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Lucinda Furlong 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Raina Fortini 
Morgan Gwenwald 
Christopher Holme 
(212) 473-3400 
Bemhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473- 
3400), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation aedicated to the 
promotion of viaeo and film, and by the 
Association of Independent Video ana 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade 
association of independent producers and 
individuals involvea in inaependent video 
ana film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independent 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
puPlic funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is Fncluded. No responsibility is 
assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
aadresssed to the editor. Letters may be 
edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
aation for the Independent Video ana 
Film, Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints repuire written permission and 
acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198. The Independent is indexed in 
the Alternative Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 1988 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Ethan Young, membership/ 
programming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival 
bureau director; Morton Marks, business manager; 
Sol Horowitz, Short Film Showcase project adminis- 
trator. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Rachel Field 
(chair), Robert Richter (president), Loni Ding (vice 
president), Wendy Lidell (secretary), Richard 
Lorber (treasurer), Robert Aaronson. Adrianne 
Benton. Christine Choy. Lisa Frigand," Regge Life, 
Tom Luddy,* Deanna Morse, Lawrence Sapadin 
(ex officio), Steve Savage,* Barton Weiss, John 
Taylor Williams," 

• FIVF Board ol Directors only 



CONTENTS 



FEATURES 

1 8 Risky Business: Das kleine Fernsehspiel and West German TV 

by Reinhard W. Wolf 

23 Glasnost and Georgian Cinema 

by Karen Rosenberg 

Shoot Films, Not Rockets: The American-Soviet Film Initiative 

2 MEDIA CLIPS 

Changing of the Guard at the New York Film Festival 

by Quynh Thai 

Doc Series Gets Ready for Launch 

by Patricia Thomson 

New York Black/Latino Group Established 

by Renee Tajima 

DuPont-Columbia Honors Eyes on the Prize 
Sequels 

10 IN FOCUS 

Super VHS: Super Great or Super Hype? 

by Barton Weiss 

15 LEGAL BRIEFS 

Are You Entitled? Title Protection and Title Reports 

by Robert C. Harris 

28 FIELD REPORTS 

Radical Media Review: Third World Newsreel Enters Third Decade 

by Coco Fusco 

After School Special: Chicago's Community Television Network 

by Barbara Tuss 

33 FESTIVALS 

British Intelligence: The National Festival of Independent Video 

by Mary Downes 

Text and Tube: La Semaine Internationale de Video 

by Tom Borrup 

In Brief 

38 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

40 CLASSIFIEDS 

42 NOTICES 

44 MEMORANDA 



COVER: Georgian director Irakli Kvirikadze finished his dramatic 
feature The Swimmer (featuring Gudea Buzduli) in 1981 , but when it 
was released in 1984 some scenes about the Stalin era were cut. The 
film was re-released in 1987 with several of the cuts restored, and this 
version was screened at the 1988 San Francisco Film Festival. In 
"Glasnost and Georgian Cinema," Karen Rosenberg surveys con- 
temporary movie-making in the Soviet Republic of Georgia in light of 
recent liberalizations taking place in Soviet culture. Photo courtesy 
of the San Francisco Film Festival. 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



MEDIA CLIPS 



CHANGING OF THE GUARD 
AT THE NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 




Almost immedi- 
ately after the 1987 
New York Film 
Festival screened 
its final program, 
the Film Society of 
Lincoln Center 
became the focus 
of controversy over 
personnel changes 
on the festival's 
prestigious selec- 
tion committee. 

Photo: Henry Grossman, 
courtesy Film Society of 
Lincoln Center 



On February 17 the Film Society of Lincoln 
Center named David Sterritt, film critic for the 
Christian Science Monitor, and Philip Lopate, 
writer and programmer at the Houston Museum of 
Fine Arts, to the five-member selection commit- 
tee for the New York Film Festival. Sterritt and 
Lopate will replace film critics Richard Corliss 
and David Denby, who both resigned two weeks 
earlier. The two newcomers join Carrie Rickey of 
the Philadelphia Enquirer, Wendy Keys, execu- 
tive producer/programmer at the Society, and 
Richard Pefia, the Society's new program direc- 
tor. 

The announcement of Lopate and Sterritt's 
appointment to the committee ends over two 
months of controversy that began when Richard 
Roud retired as festival director after 25 years 
with the Society. Roud — whose name is practi- 
cally synonymous with the festival and its reputa- 
tion as a showcase for European auteurs like Jean- 
Luc Godard, Louis Malle, and Eric Rohmer — 
resigned in late October 1987, immediately fol- 
lowing a New York Times report that the Society's 
board of directors was planning to ask him to 
leave. In a subsequent article in the October 23 
edition of the Times, Roud's departure was attrib- 
uted to two quarrels he had with Joanne Koch, the 
Society's executive director. The Times' reporter 
wrote that Koch had attempted to impose her 
tastes on the selection committee when she circu- 
lated a memo asking that they reconsider their 



decision not to program The Whales of August and 
Fellini's Intervista for the 1987 festival. Roud 
was said to challenge Koch on the basis that her 
request contravened the committee's traditional 
autonomy. 

Although Roud's administrative and personal 
differences with Koch have been widely ac- 
knowledged, many protested what they saw as 
clumsiness in the Society's handling of the mat- 
ter, especially their leaks to the press about the 
board's discussions prior to reaching a decision 
about Roud's position. Carrie Rickey, the only 
member of the committee who did not resign in 
the aftermath of Roud's departure, admitted that 
disagreements had occurred between Roud and 
Koch but refuted the interpretation that indepen- 
dent critics were consistently pitted against the 
Society's administration in disputes over 
committee decision-making. "The Times deline- 
ated false lines [between the groups]," she told the 
Independent. "As far as I can tell, the Whales of 
August controversy existed in the imagination of 
Denby and others. I never felt that my opinion was 
being pressured [by the administration]. The 
memo was made into a bigger issue than it really 
was." Although Rickey considered resigning last 
October to protest the Society's treatment of 
Roud, she now believes that the Times precipi- 
tated his departure by reporting that he was fired 
before a decision had been made. "Something 
would have been hammered out if the story had 



not broke," she pointed out, "but things became 
too polarized." 

After Roud's departure, the Society asked 
Corliss, film critic for Time magazine and co- 
editor of the Society's journal Film Comment, to 
chair the selection committee. Corliss agreed on 
the condition that Roud stay on as a voting mem- 
ber. The board turned down this proposal, even 
though they had stated earlier that Roud would 
serve as a consultant to the festival. The board 
then rejected Corliss' request that Roud act as the 
festival's European consultant and return to the 
committee next year. On January 29 both Corliss 
and Denby announced their resignations. 

Unlike Denby, Corliss did not leave to protest 
the Society administration's perceived violations 
of the committee's independence. "My resigna- 
tion had nothing to do with Keys and Pena' s being 
part of the selection committee," he said. "It had 
to do with the strong belief that the festival's 
continuity would not be maintained without Rich- 
ard Roud's participation. When the majority of 
the board disagreed with me, I felt I was no longer 
the person the Society needed. I went down with 
Roud's ship." 

Although a clean slate was not the Society's 
intention when it considered Roud ' s status, a new 
direction seems to be what the board had in mind 
when it reconstituted the committee. "The board 
had picked a committee that is less mainstream 
than any in the past," Koch explained. "It wanted 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



SYNC 1/4 INCH AUDIO -TO-VIDEO 



PROD. NO. 



SCENE 



TAKE 



ROLL 



SOUND 



PROD. CO. 



DIRECTOR 



CAMERAMAN 



Negative-To-Video Transfers 
of Dailies with Sound 

■ Eliminate Cost of Workprint and Mag 

■ Optimize Audio Quality 



For more information, call: 
Sound Dept. Manager Allan Gus, 
Video Dept. Manager Tim Spitzeror 
Sales Reps. Linda Young or Libby Moyer 



DuArt Film 



DuArt Video 




The V\" original can be mono with Neopilot sync 
or stereo with FM-pilot or SMPTE Time Code 




Send for our 
new brochure 

114 INCH AUDIO TO VIDEO SYNCING 



Du Art Film Labs 245 West 55th Street New York, NY 10019 (212)757-4580 Telex: 640 253 FAX: (212)333-7647 
Du Art New England 39 Chapel Street Newton, MA 02158 (617)969-0666 



a committee with as much knowledge about films 
as possible — one with a perspective that is broad, 
open, and responsive." Wendy Keys, for ex- 
ample, while serving as the program director for 
the Society has been on the selection committee 
for the New Directors/New Films series which the 
Society co-sponsors with the Museum of Modern 
Art. She is the fourth woman on the committee 
since it was first established in 1963, and her 
appointment marks the first time in the festival's 
history that two women sit on the committee at the 
same time. 

Richard Pena, the new chair of the selection 
committee, comes to the Society from the Film 
Center of the Art Institute of Chicago, where his 
commitment to U.S. independent cinema and 
work by third world producers was evident in his 
programming. "The New York Film Festival will 
continue as a small festival committed to showing 
excellent films," he predicted, "but it will expand 
to include more third world cinema, experimental 
work, and documentaries." One priority for Pena 
is changing attitudes commonly held by 
filmmakers — especially independents — towards 
the festival. "Over the years there has evolved a 
certain hesitancy on the part of many filmmakers 
to submit films. People censor themselves be- 
cause they do not feel they they fit a certain image 
of the festival. I want to emphasize that the door is 
wide open. I hope to achieve some eclecticism in 
our selections." 

New committee members Sterritt and Lopate 
concur. "I agree with what Philip Lopate told the 
New York Times about making the festival more 
surprising and less predictable," said Sterritt. 
"The festival has been known for showing re- 
spectable films by respectable filmmakers. I pre- 
fer to be stimulating, go for controversy, stir 
people up with works by people like Bruce Con- 
ner, Stan Brakhage, Su Friedrich. Robert Breer. 
Although I prefer conventional work," he added. 
"1 hope the festival will be somewhat more eccen- 
tric, more intuitive, and lot more unpredictable. I 
want to go further in the direction of third world 
films and truly avant-garde independent movies." 

On the question of the committee's integrity, 
none of the new members are worried about 
administrative meddling. "All of us are based 
outside New York," Sterritt noted, referring to 
himself, Lopate, and Rickey. "We have our loyal- 
ties outside the area and are not in anyone's 
pocket. The Society has assured me that it has no 
interest in pressuring anyone, and it emphasizes 
the critics' independence." 

QUYNHTHAI 

NEW DOC SERIES GETS 
READY FOR LAUNCH 

After two years in the pipeline, a new Public 
Broadcasting Service series featuring indepen- 
dently produced documentaries is set to premiere 
this summer. Titled POV, an acronym for "point 
of view," the acquisition series will begin its 10- 




Phyllis Metal, aged 70, 
who throws pottery 
despite her arthritis, is 
profiled in Acting Our 
Age. Michal Aviad's film 
was selected for the first 
program of the first 
season of POV, the 
independenent docu- 
mentary series that will 
premiere on July 5 on 
PBS. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



week run on Tuesday, July 5 with a national 
satellite feed at 10 p.m. — the time-slot occupied 
by Frontline during the regular season. POV will 
be presented by a consortium of public television 
stations: WNET, WGBH, KCET, and South 
Carolina ETV. Previously dubbed The American 
Documentary, the series was recently rechris- 
tened in order to avoid confusion with PBS' 
American Playhouse, American Masters, and 
especially American Experience, another upcom- 
ing documentary showcase [see "Package Deal: 
A New Documentary Series," December 1986 
and "Making History: PBS' American Experi- 
ence" December 1987]. The name change also 
resulted from "an informal market survey — our 
asking people in airports and that kind of thing," 
explains executive producer Marc Weiss. These 
conversations indicated that people would stay 
away from any series with "documentary" in the 
title. "We can't rehabilitate the word if they won't 
even tune in," says Weiss. Calling the series Point 
of View also lets stations and viewers know at the 
outset that the programs won't follow the formu- 
las of television documentaries as developed by 
network news divisions. Instead, filmmakers will 
appear at the beginning of each program to intro- 
duce their work and provide a context, exlain the 
motivation for tackling their subject, or give other 
relevant background information. In cases where 
time permits, the program will conclude with a 
follow-up appearance. 

The original notion of packaging the programs 
into several thematically linked mini-series was 
abandoned during the selection process. Julia 
Reichert, codirector of such documentaries as 
Seeing Red and Union Maids, was one of the 
individuals representing independents on POV's 
editorial committee, which also included public 
television representatives from the Corporation 
for Public Broadcasting, PBS, the stations in the 
presenting consortium, and several smaller sta- 
tions. According to Reichert, the committee de- 
liberated between framing the series as an "art of 
the documentary" survey, with foremost ex- 
amples of various documentary forms (a frame- 
work preferred by independents on the commit- 



tee), versus a selection based solely on "quality" 
(an approach favored by station representatives) 
without regard for stylistic diversity. The final 
selection falls somewhere between the two. 

Winnowing down 550 submissions to the final 
12 involved a complicated and attenuated proc- 
ess. Complete title lists went back and forth be- 
tween Weiss and the editorial committee for rank- 
ing and comments, evaluative grids were drawn 
up, and prescreenings occurred. These were fol- 
lowed by more rankings, more grids, and more 
lists sent to and fro. The committee then met for an 
intensive three-day review session, during which 
about 40 works were screened and the list nar- 
rowed down to 15, with three alternates. Out of 
these Weiss selected the final list. 

A common fear within the independent com- 
munity during the formative stages of this series, 
particularly once it became clear that it would be 
presented by a station consortium, was that public 
television stations would have firm control. But 
no such split of opinion materialized in the 
committee. "We weren't on opposite sides of the 
fence, although there were clearly different per- 
spectives at work," says Reichert. "Independents 
were interested in supporting individuals. We'd 
say, 'That's so-and-so's new film.' The public 
television people couldn't care less about that. 
They were just looking for 'quality.'" Even so, 
there was more general agreement than many 
anticipated. Conflicting opinions were often more 
a matter of regional differences than professional 
affiliation. 

POV will premiere with Acting Our Age, by 
Michal Aviad and, tentatively, American 
Tongues, by Andrew Kolker and Louis Alvarez. 
This and one other program will run two hours. 
Two shows are slotted for 90 minutes, while the 
remainder will last 60 minutes. In addition to the 
opening program, at least one other will pair two 
works: Knocking on Armageddon' s Door, by 
Torv Carlsen and John Magnus, and Living with 
AIDS, by Tina DiFeliciantonio. The remaining 
eight programs will feature single works: The 
Good Fight: The Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the 
Spanish Civil War, by Noel Buckner, Mary Dore. 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 




I 



Full component Betacam to Betacam CMX Editing $150/HR 




W & Betacam to 1" 
CMX Editing 
$175/HR 





\ 



remember 
we also 
have 



Camera 

Rentals 

$550/Day 

Full Package 



f 



SYiy ESTHETICS 

Integrated Media Productions 

—VIDEO— 

» Complete post-production 

management 
» Off-line interformat editing 
» EDL generation 

► Striping/burn-in 

—GRAPHICS— 

► Logo creation 

» Full color paint system 
» Image digitization/effects 
» Slide/prints from video 
» Full 3D modeling w/texture 
mapping 

—AUDIO— 

» Midi music synthesis 

• Music scored for video/film 

• Narration recording 

• Sound effects, overdubs, lay-backs 

58 Walker St. • NYC 10013 
212-431-4112 




We have what 
you want... 

the competitive edge on insurance 
programs tor the entertainment & 
communication industries. 




Get to know us! 



QR.REIFF 

l£(<S$SOC!fiT£S 



Insurance Specialists 

Contact Dennis Rem -«*j 

221 West 57 Street N Y.NY 10019(212)603-0231 



Video Duplication 

3/4" U-matic & 1/2" VHS or Beta II Copies 

FROM ONE 20 MINUTES 30 MINUTES 60 MINUTES 1 / 2' VHS/BETA II 
•MASTER 3/4" 1/2" 3/4" 1/2" 3/4" 1/2" 90 MIN. 120 MIN. 



One Copy $4.00 $4.00 $6.00 $5.00 $9.00 $8.00 $11.00 $14.00 

2-4 Copies 3.50 3.00 5.50 4.50 8.00 6.00 8.00 9.00 

5-9 Copies 3.00 2.50 4.50 3.50 7.00 5.00 7.00 8.00 

10-24 C6pies 2.50 2.00 4.00 3.00 6.00 4.50 6.00 7.00 

PRICES. NOT INCLUDING STOCK, ARE PER COPY. ASSEMBLY CHARGES ARE ADDITIONAL. 



EQUIPMENT: 3/4" Sony, 1/2" Panasonic 2 ch. industrial recorders and Grass 
Valley & Videotek distributors. Time base correction, optional, with Microtime 
arid Tektronix equipment. 

3/4" EDITING - PER HOUR, DAY or WEEK 

RM 440/5800-5859 " $20/HR. 
/5800-2860A - $15/HR. 
24 Hour Access Available 



(212)475-7884 

814 BROADWAY 
NEW YORK, NY 10003 



and Sam Sills, Fire from the Mountain, by Debo- 
rah Shaffer and Adam Friedson, Las Madres: The 
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, by Susana Munoz 
and Lourdes Portillo, Metropolitan Avenue, by 
Christine Noschese, Louie Bluie, by Terry 
Zwigoff, Rate It X, by Lucy Winer and Paula de 
Koenigsberg, and Gates of Heaven, by Errol 
Morris. Ira Wohl's Best Boy is provisionally on 
the list; like American Tongues, its inclusion is 
contingent upon being able to work around a prior 
contract. 

POV is paying 300 dollars per minute for 
acquisitions, all of which will have their national 
television premieres on POV. The contract asks 
for exclusive broadcast rights for four releases 
over a period of three years. While there are 
restrictions on licensing to cable television, Weiss 
says none exist on the home video, foreign, or 
theatrical markets. 

So far, Weiss has raised nearly $600,000 of the 
series' $750,000 budget. With the help of David 
Davis, executive producer of American Play- 
house and now also POV's executive director, he 
got backing from the powerful stations in the 
presenting consortium. Their support provided a 
critical stamp of approval in the eyes of many PBS 
affiliates and PBS itself. PBS subsequently came 
through with a a $35,000 Program Development 
Fund grant and will give the program a national 
satellite feed. But all this represents just half the 
task. Now that water has been brought to the 
horse, it's Weiss' job to convince the horse that 
it's thirsty. 

Right now there is no guarantee or even indica- 
tion how many stations will pick up the series this 
summer. In promoting POV Weiss is working 
hard to convince stations to take the entire series, 
and not just cherry-pick individual programs. He 
has been getting some advice on promotion from 
PBS officials Gail Christian, director of news and 
special events and a POV editorial committee 
member, and Steve Ashley, associate director of 
program scheduling. The publicity campaign will 
include letters from the consortium stations' 
presidents, telephone calls to the top market sta- 
tions by members of the editorial committee and 
staff, a pre-feed, and a teleconference. Newly 
employed by PBS, teleconferences allow stations 
to watch a promotional reel, then phone in ques- 
tions to a series representative standing by in a 
television studio. 

Each program in POV will have 20, 30, and 60 
second promotional spots, in addition to whatever 
press coverage they are able to generate. Weiss 
has budgeted $150,000 for promotion and has 
hired a public relations firm to coordinate 90 
percent of the national publicity and help with 
grassroots outreach. The New York-based firm. 
Gene Nichols & Associates, has worked for such 
PBS series as Frontline and Vietnam: A Televi- 
sion History. 

Meanwhile, Weiss' office is concentrating on 
encouraging media arts centers to get involved. 
"This is an opportunity for media arts centers to 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 




£ 




3HL 




Independent Feature Film Production Goodell $995 
Legal structure and financing, the pre-production package, the production 
process, post-production distribution and marketing, and samples of 
limited partnership agreements and budgets. 

The Independent Film and Videomakers Guide Wiese $16 .95 
Advice on film and video financing, investor presentations and limited 
partnerships. Writing a prospectus, market research, finding distributors, 
negotiating, income projections, list of buyers of non-theatre films, pay 
and foreign tv, and home video, contacts for music video. 

Film and Video Budgets Wiese $16 95 

How to prepare budgets for low budget features, commercials, shorts, 
music videos, pay tv segments. Sample budgets, practical advice and 
money saving tips. 

Home Video: Producing for the Home Market Wiese S16.95 
Advice on the successful development and distribution of original home 
video programs. New marketing opportunities for independent producers. 

The Copyright Primer for Film and Video Sparkman S3 .50 
Practical copyright information, what does or doesn't need a copyright, 
registration procedure, exceptions and a sample release. 

Selected Issues in Media Law Mayer $2 50 

Legal information on copyrights, option agreements, distribution contracts- 

and a glossary of legal terms. 

Ship Shape Shipping Lidell $3 00 

Practical advice on international transport of film and video tapes. 

Get the Money and Shoot Jackson $20 00 
How to obtain government, corporate and foundation grants, how to 
write a proposal, and budgets. Film production from start to finish. 
Reading list. 

Before You Shoot Garvy $10.00 

Decision making and organizing for the production side of filmmaking. 

Sponsors: A Guide for Video and Filmmakers 

Goldman/Green $6.00 

Ways to identify potential sponsors, tax implications, advantages and 
disadvantages, establishing good working relationships, sample letters of 
agreement, list of media service organizations, and bibliography 

Producer's Masterguide '87 $15 00 

An eighty dollar valuel 

AIVF Guide to International Film and Video Festivals 

Aaronson $15.00 

Compilation of two years of festival columns published in The 
Independent. Over three hundred festivals in the US and abroad. 
Complete profiles, contacts and fees. Photocopy. 



AIVF Guide to International Film and Video Festivals 

Bowser S19.50 

The new 1988 up to date edition of the Festival Guide. Soon to be 

published. Pre-orders are being taken nowl Postage and handling 

included. 

Doing It Yourself: A Handbook on Independent Film Distribution 

Reichert/Rothschild $6.00 

The nuts and bolts of self distribution. Topics include promotion, 

types of costs, bookings, running an office, and more. Photocopy. 

AIVF Guide to Film and Video Distributors Guzzy/Lidell $6 .00 
Profiles one hundred distribution companies. Indexed for genre/subjects, 
market (and foreign) target audiences, and companies that provide 
completion funding. Photocopy. 



Back issues of The Independent 

(includes postage and handling) 




CASSETTES 




AIVF is proud to announce its new audio tape series. These are actual live 
recordings of our seminars with no holds barred. Audience questions to 
the panel are included also. In the coming months, new recordings will 
be available on topics of vital importance to the independent, from 
aesthetics to business concerns. 



Now Available! 

Festival Circuit Confidential $12 00 (2 tapes) 
The international film and video circuit is an important entry point for 
independents into foreign markets. This taped seminar brings together 
professionals familiar with international festivals and trends in overseas 
marketing options. A great companion to the AIVF Festival Guide' 

Docs to Drama $12.00 (2 tapes) 

Why are many documentarians switching to dramatic works? Producers 

discuss the aesthetic and practical challenges of "crossing over". 



Send check or money order, or charge to your Mastercard or Visa, along 
with $2.00 postage and handling, $1 00 per additional item for all 
publications. All cassette prices include postage and handling. AIVF 625 
Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012 



E DIT 



ELECTRONIC 

ARTS 

INTERMIX 

Post-production for 

artists and independents 

since 1971 

OFF-LINE, CUTS ONLY 
EDITING WITH TBC AND 
CHARACTER GENERATOR 

RATES 

INDEPENDENTS $25/hr. 

NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. $35/hr. 
COMMERCIAL $50/hr. 

(212) 473-6822 




FOOTAGE. 

It's just a phone call away. 
Footage from silent films, 
feature films, newsreels, doc- 
umentaries, industrial films 
and more. Fully cleared for 
use in your productions. 

Our computerized system 
assures fast access. Call or 
write for a free brochure and 
sample reel. 



Archive Film 

Productions, Inc. 

Stock Footage Library 

212/620-3955 

Dept. 1, 530 West 25th Street 

New York, NY 10001 USA 

Fax 212/645-2137 Telex: 822023 



establish a relationship with their local public 
television stations," says Weiss. In the offing are 
sneak previews and guest appearances by 
filmmakers. In turn, Weiss hopes that media arts 
centers will be able to help generate local press 
coverage, by providing critical links to editors and 
critics. "We are working with limited resources," 
he says, "So the more help, the better." 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

NEW YORK BLACK/ 
LATINO MEDIA GROUP 
ESTABLISHED 

With a hand from the Black and Puerto Rican 
Legislative Caucus of the New York State legis- 
lature, black and Latino independents in New 
York have finally been able to exercise some clout 
in Albany. Last August, a group primarily com- 
posed of black media artists, including Ayoka 
Chenzira, Carl Clay, Ronald Grey, Steven James, 
Bill Miles, and Al Santana, formed the new or- 
ganization Black and Hispanic Images with a 
major grant of $500,000 from the New York State 
Department of Economic Development. The 
purpose of BHI is to foster the presence of black 
and Hispanic media in the state through direct 
support to film- and videomakers. 

According to executive director Geri Jasper. 
BHI's main focus is fostering feature filmmak- 
ing — through low-cost equipment rental, consult- 
ing services from a network of professionals in the 
field, and raising venture capital for individual 
projects. BHI members are able to submit projects 
for possible inclusion in their portfolio of devel- 
opment projects, which are shopped around to 
corporate sponsors for financing. A review panel 
makes recommendations to the staff from the pool 
of applicants and selected projects receive vary- 
ing degrees of service. Jasper estimates that the 
staff of four (soon to be expanded to six) can 
accommodate approximately five projects per 
year for comprehensive, full-service attention. 
The current docket includes Melvin McCray's 
13-part video series on African leaders, which is 
seeking final postproduction and distribution 
funding, and a dramatic feature by Osiros Gordon 
McClennand called Dark Designs. 

The one-year state grant made it possible for 
BHI to purchase production equipment in 16mm, 
super 16mm, and Betacam formats, as well as 
three-quarter-inch video postproduction. Inde- 
pendents can edit at the Long Island City facility 
for as little as 1 7 dollars per hour, using an A/B roll 
set-up with decision list management capability. 

BHI services are not offered exclusively to 
black and Latino artists, but any participating 
projects must have a high level of black and 
Latino involvement in all aspects of production. 
Recently, the board of directors of the organiza- 
tion was expanded from the founding group to 
include three Latino members, independent film 
and videomaker Carlos de Jesus, Mildred Alicea 



Gonzales of RGI Communications, and assistant 
general counsel to Children's Television Work- 
shop Iris Morales. Contact Black and Hispanic 
Images, 1 1-45 47th Ave., Ste. 201, Long Island 
City, NY 11101; (718) 729-3232. 

RENEE TAT1MA 

DUPONT-COLUMBIA 

HONORS 

EYES ON THE PRIZE 

Broadcast journalists bestowed one of their high- 
est honors on Blackside, Inc. for the six-part 
television series Eyes on the Prize: America's 
Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965. At the forty-sixth 
annual Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University 
Awards in Broadcast Journalism, the Gold Baton 
Award was presented to executive producer 
Henry Hampton, producers Callie Crossley, 
James A. DeVinney, Orlando Bagwell, and asso- 
ciate producer Prudence Arndt. The Gold Baton is 
given to the program that has made "the greatest 
contribution to the public's understanding of an 
important issue or news event." This is the first 
time an independent production company has 
received the award. In addition, Blackside, Inc. 
was also awarded the 510,000 Trustees Prize, 
which goes every year to an independent pro- 
ducer. 

Under the category of Independent Produc- 
tions, Ken Burns' Florentine Films was awarded 
a Silver Baton Award for Huey Long, a presenta- 
tion of WET A in Washington, D.C., and Louisi- 
ana Public Broadcasting. 

PT 



SEQUELS 

The Rockefeller Foundation's Arts and Hu- 
manities division has reinstituted its media fel- 
lowship program, suspended since 1983 
["Rockefeller Reconsiders Media Policy," De- 
cember 1986]. Seven producers were recently 
awarded $35,000 each under the new Intercultural 
Film and Video Fellowships program. The inter- 
cultural emphasis of these revived fellowships 
brings this component of the media program into 
conformance with the Rockefeller Foundation's 
general funding philosophy, which emphasizes 
international and intercultural projects. The 1988 
fellowship winners, selected from a pool of 83 
nominees, will work on the projects they had 
submitted to the review panel of artists, exhibi- 
tors, and scholars. They are: Charles Burnett, To 
Sleep with Anger. Haile Gerima, Nunu. DeeDee 
Halleck, De Peliculas: Archives of Latin Ameri- 
can Conflict 1890-1940. Paul Kos, Tower of Ba- 
bel, Victor Masayesva Jr.. The Hopi Ritual 
Clown, Lourdes Portillo, Emilia, and Trinh T. 
Minh-ha, Surname Viet Given Name Nam. 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



SAVES THE DAY! 




For super-quality computer-timed dailies at the best price in town...SFL is your hero! 

We're a fully-equipped film lab with years of experience offering state-of-the-art 

services, such as liquid gate A&B answer prints. ..plus the kind of talk-to-the-timer 

personalized attention that you can't get from other labs at ANY price. 

CALL FOR THE COMPLETE SFL STORY. 



STUDIO FILM LABS 321 WEST 44TH STREET 



STUDIO 



▲ I- I I M 

1 



I \ B 



AND FIND OUT WHAT WE CAN SAVE YOU! 



NEW YORK NEW YORK 10036 • 212-582-5578 



IN FOCUS 

SUPER VHS: 

SUPER GREAT OR SUPER HYPE? 




Jill Godmilow (with 
camera), shooting 
a rehearsal of 
Mabou Mines' 
adaptation of King 
Lear, with a proto- 
type of the JVC GF- 
S1000HU full-size 
Super-VHS camera. 
Ruth Maleczech 
(seated at left) 
plays Lear, while 
Lee Breur, Lola Pa- 
shalinski, Karen 
Evans Kandel, and 
Isabel Monk also 
perform gender- 
reversed roles. 

Photo: Paul Ryan 



Barton Weiss 



I remember how I felt when I first heard about 
something called Super VHS. My friend, the 
computer junkie at the local computer store, told 
me JVC was working on this new format that was 
VHS but somehow looked better than three-quar- 
ter-inch and almost as good as one-inch. Not only 
that, but it would fix all the half-inch blues of 
crosstalk between the luminance — brightness 
information — and the chroma — color informa- 
tion. (Crosstalk is most often seen as muddiness in 
colors that shows up in multiple generations.) 
According to my source, S-VHS, as it's now 
known, would be both an industrial and a con- 
sumer format — meaning that all the research and 
development that goes into each end would give 
us a better product. That is, the cheap camcorder 
would gain by professional designs and controls, 
while the professional gear would reap the re- 
wards of mass market doodads and enhance- 
ments. It also means that a consumer format could 
be a mastering format. I was so happy I thought I 
died and went to video heaven. 

That was over a year and a half ago, and I've 
been telling everybody (who is still listening to 
me) that S-VHS would change everything. It was 
going to put broadcast image quality in the hands 



of masses and make them all video artists, or at 
least allow them the opportunity. It would make 
"desktop video" a reality (the ability to create 
video projects, with some computer graphics if 
you liked, in house — not a commercial house, but 
quite literally your house). You would be able to 
shoot with a consumer-priced small and compact 
camcorder, making more intimate documentary 
production possible. Then you would be able to do 
all your postproduction on a small editing system, 
and everything would look great. 

Well, the equipment is finally out, and it is 
impressive. It has well over 400 lines of resolu- 
tion. Lines of resolution on video are not the 
number of scanning lines (that's 525 in the U.S.) 
but the number of lines you can read sharply when 
looking at a monitor showing a recorded resolu- 
tion chart. Or, in other words, it's how much detail 
the system can reproduce sharply or at what point 
a series of lines turn to mush. By comparison, 
normal VHS resolution is 220 lines; three-quar- 
ter-inch is 240; the NTSC broadcast signal your 
TV picks up is 330. If and when Sony comes out 
with their "super" system that they call Beta ED 
(extended definition), it will have 500 lines of 
resolution. (The Sony system has a credibility 
advantage over VHS because Beta is considered 
more professional, more like three-quarter or 
Betacam than VHS.) So. S-VHS gives you more 



resolution than your TV can see. In order to see a 
significant difference, you need a new TV/moni- 
tor. You need the monitor for a reason other than 
resolution, and that's for the Y/C — or S-VHS — 
cable. To fix the VHS problem of crosstalk be- 
tween the luminance and chroma signals, the two 
must be kept separate throughout the chain of 
events, so JVC came up with the Y/C cable (Y 
stands for luminance, C for chroma), with a 4 pin 
DIN-type connector. 

How does S-VHS do it? The main technologi- 
cal breakthrough that put the Super in VHS is the 
blank tape, which was invented by 3M (Scotch). 
They squished more information-reproducing 
oxide on the tape surface and devised a process for 
distributing the oxide coating more evenly, which 
allows a greater bandwidth for image-producing 
frequencies. JVC — let's give them some credit 
for inventing the format — shifted the placement 
and range of regular VHS frequencies, which 
helps achieve a better image but also brings up the 
incompatibility issue. 

An S-VHS tape recorded with an S-VHS signal 
will only play back on an S-VHS deck. An S-VHS 
deck will play both regular VHS and S-VHS 
tapes. But regular tapes won't look any better than 
they do on a regular VHS deck. On the other hand, 
a recording made with an S-VHS camcorder on a 
non-S-VHS tape will look better than that made 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



with a regular camcorder, because the S-VHS 
camcorders have more pixels (picture elements) 
in the image forming chip. Also, you can record 
with a normal VHS camera using S-VHS tape, but 
it will look no better and cost twice as much. One 
last note on S-VHS's improvements over the 
regular format: it looks almost as good in the 
slower ep and sip consumer modes as in sp. This 
is important if you want to shoot with a consumer 
S-VHS type C camera that will allow you to shoot 
for up to an hour rather than the 20 minutes 
possible with a normal VHS type C cassette. 
However, when you go to the slow mode the 
sound quality goes out the window. 

All this is great, but the second video revolu- 
tion I had hoped for hasn 't materialized yet. It may 
be on the way, but everyone seems to be waiting 
to see if it catches on and nobody — from rental 
houses to home video companies to consumers 
and, to an extent, the equipment manufacturers — 
seems to want to stick out either their necks or 
their wallets. With Betacam (and Betacam sp), 
MI, and Mil, three-quarter-inch and three-quar- 
ter-inch sp systems in hand, nobody wants to buy 
another system, especially if it won't be around 
for long. For instance, Victor Duncan, probably 
the major rental chain outside the two Coasts, isn't 
interested in investing in much S-VHS gear, 
partly because they are concerned with being 
perceived as catering to the consumer market, 
afraid of getting phone calls asking if they have 
Top Gun for rent. And all postproduction person- 
nel I have spoken with are nervous about investing 
in another format, especially one tainted by asso- 
ciations with home video. However, everyone 
said that if their customers wanted it they would 
go ahead. Home video companies and local rental 
stores are worried because S-VHS is only back- 
wards compatible. They don't want to produce or 
stock two formats again, especially when they just 
got rid of that Beta stuff. Everyone repeats the 
same line, "As soon as there is demand we will get 
into it," but, for now, only the bold with bucks will 
buy S-VHS and currently there is no demand. No 
chicken, no egg. 

□ ID □ 

As independents there are several ways we can 
deal with S-VHS, each with cost and aesthetic 
implications. The cheapest and simplest would be 
to buy or rent a S-VHS consumer camcorder and 
edit with straight cuts on an S-VHS editing sys- 
tem. This is fine if you don't need dissolves or 
effects. With a system like this you might be able 
to add some home-style Amiga computer graph- 
ics to spice up the tape. Of course, you will end up 
with an S-VHS master. Which should make good 
VHS copies. 

The next step up, costwise, is to shoot with S- 
VHS and transfer it to either Betacam or one-inch, 
burn in time code, and proceed in post, through 
normal channels. Jill Godmilow recently shot The 
Lear Tapes, an experimental videotape based on 



Mabou Mines' gender-reversed adaptation of 
King Lear, using three cameras simultaneously: a 
prototype of a full-size S-VHS consumer cam- 
era—the JVC GF-S1000HU, a three-chip Beta- 
cam, and a regular VHS camcorder. About the 
quality she said, "I actually prefer the look of the 
S-VHS to the Betacam. The Beta produced well- 
saturated, even images that resemble network 
news, while the S-VHS put out punchier, grittier, 
less saturated images, with a fine grain texture 
comparable to well-exposed black and white 
film — and with just as much apparent resolution 
as the Betacam. Once the S-VHS is time-base 
corrected and bumped up to one-inch, there's no 
question it's broadcastable." 

Currently, several manufacturers have S-VHS 
type C camcorders on the market: Panasonic, 
JVC, Quasar, Zenith, RCA, Minolta, and Magna- 
vox. In the full-size camcorder department, the 
only one out as I write this is the chock full of bells 
and whistles Panasonic PV S350 with some 
snazzy digital effects. But there will soon be a 
JVC model and a host of others, including a 
Canon. This entry is significant because one of the 
usual limitations of consumer-grade camcorders 
is the Coke bottle glass lens, and Canon often puts 
a better lens on their cameras. 

In her discussions with JVC about the camcor- 
der, Godmilow reports that they described it as the 
"maniac camera" — something for ultra-sophisti- 
cated camera nuts. They didn't realize that inde- 
pendents would seize the moment and use it as a 
serious piece of equipment. Because of this, 
Godmilow notes three problems with its design. 
First, there is no aperture ring as such. The JVC 
camera does offer more control than the 
Panasonic (which has only a backlight control), 
since there is a button for manual override of the 
automatic exposure system. This has 1 4 positions 
allowing for "more" or "less" light, but it doesn't 
give the control of real f-stops. Second, there is no 
through-the-lens white balance system. Instead, 
the camera offers four settings: daylight, tung- 
sten, fluorescent, and auto. If your light source is 
either all daylight or all tungsten, these work fine, 
but when working in mixed light the camera goes 
crazy. Under those circumstances, the only solu- 
tion is to control the light. The third problem is 
serious only if you are posting in S-VHS. In S- 
VHS and all half-inch systems, the great hi-fi 
sound can't be edited in the insert mode, because 
the hi-fi tracks are recorded under the video signal 
and can't be separated from the picture. The only 
way to separate them is to dub all elements to a 
second generation submaster. If you're mastering 
in VHS, the sound must be transferred to the 
inferior longitudinal track, so there is an inevi- 
table deterioration of audio quality . Another prob- 
lem is that there are too many junky effects but- 
tons, so that the date and time occasionally pop up 
while you hunt for the zoom motor. 

On the plus side, consumer camcorders are so 
light, small, unobtrusive, and simple to operate 
that you can shoot in situations that are otherwise 



Why does 
Martha 
Sandlin 

use F/VA? 




Martha Sandlin. Director (r.); 

Mona Davis. Editor 

Angie Debo 

'We needed a little of everything at 
Film/Video Arts to complete the 
Angie Debo film, a one-hour doc- 
umentary co-produced by Barbara 
Abrash and me for "The American 
Experience"— a PBS series that pre- 
mieres Fall 1988. Aside from two 
cutting rooms working full time 
with four people, we've used the 
sound transfer and video facilities as 
well as sound recording equipment, 
studio lights, easels, tripods, and 
video cameras and decks. We are so 
pleased to have this full service facili- 
ty and its highly competent staff — 
downtown." _ Ma rtha Sandlin 



visit Film/ Video Arts or call 
for an appointment with 

Jeff Marino 

industry Services Manager 

212-673-9361 

F/VA AND INDEPENDENTS: 
WORKING TOGETHER 
FOR TWENTY YEARS 

817 Broadway at 12th Street 
New York City 10003 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT ll 



Help Yourself. Join AlVF today i 




• THE INDEPENDENT the only national 
magazine devoted exclusively to inde- 
pendent film and video production 

• Insurance: Group life, medical, disability 
and equipment insurance at affordable 
rates, plus dental insurance for New York 
and New Jersey residents 

• Festival Bureau, with current information 
on over 400 international and domestic 
film and video festivals, and screenings of 
your work for visiting festival directors 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and 
public forums to increase support for inde- 
pendent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aes- 
thetic issues (audio recordings available) 

• Discounts on professional services, includ- 
ing car rental, film labs, post-production 
facilities, and equipment rental 

• Free semi-annual copies of Motion Picture 
TV & Theatre Directory ($6.95 value) 

Join AI VF today and get a one-year subscrip- 
tion to THE INDEPENDENT. Yearly mem- 
bership rates are $35 individual (add $10 for 
first class mailing of THE INDEPEND- 
ENT); $20 student (enclose proof of student 
ID); $50 library (subscription only); $75 or- 
ganization; $45 foreign (outside the US & 
Puerto Rico). To charge (Mastercard and 
Visa), call (212) 473-3400. Or send check or 
money order to:: AIVF. 625 Broadway, 9th 
floor. New York, NY 10012 



Call or write: 

625 Broadway. 9th floor 

NY, New York 10012 

(212)473-3400 



The Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers 





JVC's GF-S1000HU 
full-size Super-VHS 
camera— not yet on 
the market— takes 
advantage of JVC's 
new system for 
separating luminance 
and chroma in the 
video signal, thereby 
preventing muddied 
images that result 
from crosstalk. 

Courtesy JVC Company of 
America 



impossible. You can also improvise, dance 
around, and be more intuitive. Shooting with one 
of these brought back the excitement, life, and 
passion I had when I first shot film. Godmilow 
reports a similar experience: "We took it every- 
where — to lunch, to dinner — and shot in all types 
of situations without intimidating anyone. Be- 
cause it's such an economical and pleasurable 
system. I found myself playing and experiment- 
ing and taking the kind of crazy chances that 
sometimes pay off big. I should add that I shot five 
times more that I would have with a heavier 
system, and I will pay for that in the editing room." 

One difficulty in working with consumer prod- 
ucts in a professional way is that this often means 
working backwards — akin to working with a 
super 8 camera. Those who choose this route are 
treated that way by the professional community 
and, unfortunately, by the independent commu- 
nity as well. The machines look similar (and they 
both have "super" prefixes), but the major differ- 
ence is that Kodak never made a negative film 
stock and thus limited the distribution and exhibi- 
tion of super 8 film (without bumping up), 
whereas S-VHS is made to be copied. 

Additionally. S-VHS signals the intensifying 
battle between consumer and professional camps 
within the manufacturers' own confines. Sony has 
coined the term "prosumer" and is taking to heart 
the market that falls between its consumer and 
professional division (which consists of its newly 
merged broadcast and industrial divisions). Who 
knows if their Beta ED system — even better than 
S-VHS and currently available in Japan — will 
ever be released here. At both JVC and Panasonic 
bitter wars are being waged between the industrial 
and consumer divisions, and at Panasonic these 
even constitute separate companies. Such bicker- 
ing may forestall advancements in either or both 
camps. 

The benefits of the crossover world are the 
accessories that come with consumer gear. You 
can get a fluid head tripod with a quick release 
plate for less than $100. There are cheap wireless 



mics and other knick-knacks, which are great 
until they fail to hold up with extensive use. But 
remember, you're shooting a tape with a tiny 
budget that will look like it cost ten times the price 
and, in many cases, might not have been made 
otherwise. 

Using a cheap camera can be troublesome, 
however, which brings us to the third possible 
configuration for independent production: shoot- 
ing with the industrial grade S-VHS systems and 
editing cuts only on an S-VHS editing system. 
Panasonic has a very fine portable S-VHS deck 
(AG-7400) that has a time code input and just 
about anything else you want in a portable deck. 
JVC has done them one better by locking the deck 
to their S-VHS camera. Panasonic has an S-VHS 
editing system ( AG-7500, with the AG-A750 edit 
controller) that's plus-or-minus two frames accu- 
rate. 

The fourth approach, the class act, is to shoot 
with industrial grade and bump up to one-inch for 
post. The only drawback in this scenario is that 
you won't save much money, the usual motiva- 
tion for working in half-inch in the first place. The 
rental cost for a Betacam isn't that much more, 
and certainly three-quarter-inch rental is almost 
comparable. The only major difference is in the 
price of blank tapes, which only becomes signifi- 
cant in the long run. And the Betacam and three- 
quarter systems will produce better images, pri- 
marily because those cameras have better lenses. 
John Godfrey, who was the engineer responsible 
for bumping up some of the reel-to-reel half-inch 
tapes from the first generation of independent 
videomaking for broadcast, stresses the use of a 
good camera — he doesn't mean a $2,000 con- 
sumer item — as the most important ingredient in 
obtaining a workable image. 

On the subject of bump ups. there is a potential 
practical problem looming: a postproduction 
house has to have more than a S-VHS deck to do 
the job. Because S-VHS employs shifted frequen- 
cies for chroma and luminance, a time base cor- 
rector may or may not work. Several companies 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



The GR-S55U is JVC's 
type C camcorder, 
designed for the 
home video market 
but with some 
appealing features 
for independent pro- 
ducers—like its 
pricetag and porta- 
bility, as well as the 
image quality when 
bumped up to three- 
quarter or one-inch in 
postproduction. 

Courtesy JVC Company of 
America 




are manufacturing special TBCs for S-VHS, and 
engineers are currently turning a few screws to get 
a good image through the older ones. Before 
making a transfer, you should make some tests. 
Godmilow has worked with NVI in New York 
City, and other shops around the country are 
beginning to get involved in the new format, but 
slowly. However, a new level of postproduction is 
opening up that's intended for the low-end indus- 
trial and the high-end wedding/bar mitzvah/dance 
class folks. This is where S-VHS is getting its 
workout. 

Still, the big question is: Will S-VHS replace 
three-quarter, Betacam, or anything else? Most 
observers believe the three-quarter-inch market is 
dead. The low-end producers will happily gravi- 
tate to S-VHS; people with a bit more money will 
go, or have already gone, to Betacam. There's no 
question that S-VHS can't and won't replace or 



professionally compete with Betacam or one- 
inch, as some zealots claim. As several friends 
have pointed out, the cheaper and better equip- 
ment becomes, the schlockier most work looks — 
people get lazy. At the same time, with cheaper 
equipment available, some wonderful, energetic 
work gets produced that would otherwise only be 
proposals trying for funding. One other note of 
extreme caution before you invest in S-VHS: very 
soon (maybe in five years) video will be totally 
digital, and then everything, every format, will 
change. But that's life with video. 



Barton Weiss is afilmlvideomaker, programmer, 
and the director of the Dallas Video Festival; he 
teaches at the University of Texas at Dallas. 



Panasonic's AG-7400 

portable S-VHS VCR 

offers time code 

input, along with 

other professional 

features. 

Courtesy Panasonic Industrial 
Company 












K C C 




6» 


AUDIO/VIDEO 


HARMON Y,Sy«. -accordance, 
concord, concurrence, unison, 
understanding. 

WE KNOW HOW TO 
WORK WITH YOU. 

CMX ON-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM to 1 " 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM PRODUCTION 

21' X 54' SOUND STAGE 

Contact Terri 
(212)228-3063 

31 BOND STREET N.Y.. NY. 10012 



1-inch & 

Interformat Editing 
3/4" BVU Editing 
3/4" Off-Line Editing 
Complete Audio Services 
Film to Tape Transfers 
Video Production & 
Screening Equipment 
Rental 



TBWCOSTV — 

At 

Broadway Video 

G.B.S. Video 

L.R.P. Video 

Matrix/Stand-By 

Sync Sound 

TV-R/MasterColor 

Technlsphere Corporation 

Post-production consultation 

Available to ON-LINE clients 

For applications contact 

Media Alliance 

c/o WNET. 356 West 58th Street 
NYC. NY 10019 212/560-2919 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



Subscribe to 




The only publication for the general public 
and the industry 




Coming in the Spring issue: 

When the Wind Blows, Rocky and 

Bullwinkle, The Wizard of Speed and 

Time, World News, Video Reviews 

and much more! 



Write: ANIMATION MAGAZINE 
P.O. Box 25547 Los Angeles, Ca. 90025 



3 /4" VIDEO & POST PRODUCTION 


i^itiirft! 


VIDE 


Of 



Newfully 
tAf\ computerized Edit 
v ^ w " System-Eagle 2 w/DOS 

(CMX compatible disk). 
w/Editor, Timecode, TBC, Freezes. 
Switcher, Hi-res. Character Gen. 
(70 Fonts), Fairlight Dig. Effects. 



$60. A/B Roll w/all the above 



$20 Do-it-yourself with 

v * ,w - RM440 (or ECS90 wATC 
3/4to3/4&VHS-3/4) 

$30. with Editor-Cuts only 



Striping-Window Dubs-Copies 
3/4 Location Package with 
Ikegami 730, Lights, Mies, Crew 



TEL: (212) 219-9240 



HEALTH INSURANCE 
FOR AIVF MEMBERS 



AIVF offers its members excellent 
group medical and life insurance 
plans, administered by The Enter- 
tainment Industry Group Insurance 
Trust (TEIGIT). Our comprehensive 
medical plan offers: 

• $200 deductible 

• 80% coinsurance 

• yearly out-of-pocket cost set at 
$1,000 maximum & $1,000,000 
maximum lifetime benefit 

Other plans are available, including 
disability income insurance with a 
$500 monthly benefit. 

To join AIVF or 

for more information, write: 

AIVF Membership Services 
625 Broadway, 9th floor 
New York NY 10012 

or call Ethan Young, (212) 473-3400 



SUMMER WORKSHOPS 

The Leading Summer School for Film and Video Professionals 

One-Week Master Classes 

The Camera Workshop 



The Directors Workshop 

The Script Writing Workshops 

The Film Directors Master Class 

The Film Directing Workshop 

Acting Techniques for Directors 

The Film Acting Workshop 

Editing The Feature Film 

The Production Mgrs./ Assistant 

Directors Workshop 

The Sound Recording Workshop 



Lighting & Cinematography 
The Steadicam Workshops 
Corporate Video Production 
Electronic Cinematography 
Film Lighting for Video Production 
The Video Editing Workshop 
The TV Commercial Workshop 
The TV Hard News Workshop 
The TV News Feature Workshop 



The Workshops offer 50 one- and two-week professional classes each Summer taught by the industry's leading directors, producers, 
cinematographers, camera operators, actors, and technicians - many who have won Oscars. Courses run June 1 through August 15, 1988. 

Write or call for your free copy of our 40-page catalogue 

The International 

Film & Television 

WORKSHOPS 

Rockport, Maine 04856 (207) 236-8581 

These programs supported by ARRIFLEX, KODAK & Panavision 

Additional support from Cinema Products, ROSCO, Tiffen, OSRAM, Lowel, Matthews, Sachtler, O'Connor, and Panther 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



LEGAL BRIEFS 



ARE YOU ENTITLED? 

TITLE PROTECTION AND TITLE REPORTS 



RobertC. Harris 



[Editor's note: This article is presented only for 
the purpose of educating independent film- and 
videomakers and is not to be taken as legal ad- 
vice.] 

While to the average person a title report is a 
report on land ownership and encumbrances usu- 
ally obtained by a purchaser in a real estate trans- 
action, the term takes on a special and different 
meaning in the entertainment industry. In this 
context a title report assists a producer or pub- 
lisher in determining whether a title is free for use 
on an entertainment property. 

Titles of works in the entertainment field, in- 
cluding motion pictures, television programs, 
books, plays, magazines, songs, and records, can 
become valuable assets of the owner of the prop- 
erty. The recognition value of such enormously 
popular entertainment properties as E.T., Jaws, 
and Gone with the Wind is evident. Indeed, it is not 
unheard of for a film producer to purchase rights 
in a property solely or primarily to acquire the 
exclusive rights to use its title, which is believed 
to have strong attention getting or associational 
value. As will be discussed below, the law may 
afford protection against a third party's use of the 
same or closely similar title. Accordingly, care 
must be exercised by a film producer in selecting 
a title, and a title report can be highly useful if not 
necessary. 

While one might assume that a title, particu- 
larly a fanciful or creative one, will be protected 
under copyright law, which protects literary and 
artistic expression, the courts have consistently 
denied such protection to titles. Nor have titles of 
individual entertainment works been granted 
federal trademark registration (afforded to names 
or words that identify the goods or services of a 
particular party), on the grounds that a title, no 
matter how fanciful or unusual, is merely descrip- 
tive of the contents of the work. However, the title 
of a series of works, such as a game show, televi- 
sion series, newspaper, or magazine, may be reg- 
istered in the U.S. Trademark Office, on the 
premise that the title indicates that each show in 
the series, and each issue of the magazine or 
newspaper, comes from the same source. Further, 
if a title is used on articles of merchandising, such 
as clothing, posters, mugs, etc., trademark regis- 
tration is available covering such ancillary uses. 

Titles of individual works have found a home. 



however, in the area of the law known as unfair 
competition. The common law of the various 
states, as well as Section 43(a) of the federal 
Lanham Act, proscribe false representations con- 
cerning one's product or service. The principles 
of unfair competition seek to protect the goodwill 
and reputation that have been earned by the first 
comer, to prevent the second comer from unfairly 
trading on that goodwill, and to protect the public 
from deception. The unfair competition laws are 
enforced by remedies of both injunctive relief and 
damages. 

As a general rule, in order to prevent a second 
party from using a title which the first party 
believes to infringe his/her rights, the first party 
must establish actual public use of the title, "sec- 
ondary meaning," and a likelihood of confusion 
between the two titles. It is not enough that a 
person may have been the first to have thought up 
a title or have communicated it to friends and 
associates or prospective producers. In order to 
acquire any enforceable rights, it is necessary to 
use the title in connection with the property that is 
or will imminently be available to the public (in 
the latter case in pre-release publicity). 

However, under prevailing doctrine, mere 
public use in and of itself is insufficient to enforce 
rights in a title. Such use must be such that the title 
has acquired the status of what is known in the law 
as "secondary meaning," which in essence means 
that the relevant public has come to associate the 
title with this particular work. It is not necessary 
for the public to know the name of the actual 
source (i.e., the producer or distributor) of the 
work, as long as the title is associated with a 
particular work from a particular source. 

Whether secondary meaning in a title has been 
acquired is a question of fact and varies from case 
to case. The following factors, among others, 
would be relevant in considering whether secon- 
dary meaning has been attained: (a) length of time 
the title has been in public use; (b) amount of 
advertising and promotion expenditures and the 
range of advertising media in which the work has 
been promoted; (c) gross revenues; (d) box office 
receipts, units sold, or other indicators of the size 
of audience which has viewed or purchased the 
work; (e) critical acclaim, including awards; (0 
the number of markets in which the work has been 
exploited (e.g., theatrical, television, home video, 
etc.); (g) spin-off and ancillary uses such as se- 
quels, prequels, television series, product mer- 
chandising, etc. (for example Star Trek television 
series. Star Trek motion pictures 1 through IV. 



new Star Trek television series, Star Trek mer- 
chandise); (h) number of third party uses of the 
same or substantially similar titles. 

The higher the numbers in (a) through (g) 
above and the lower the number in (h) above, the 
greater the likelihood of a finding of secondary 
meaning. Of course, not all factors will be present 
in each case, and the weight that may be accorded 
each factor will vary. Properly conducted surveys 
may also be probative on this issue. The true test 
is whether the facts indicate that the title has 
acquired a reputation that is both substantial and 
identified almost exclusively with one property. 

An important consideration influencing this 
determination is how original or creative the title 
is. It is much more difficult to establish secondary 
meaning in a descriptive as opposed to a catchy 
title. As common sense might dictate, it may be 
virtually impossible to establish secondary mean- 
ing for a film concerning the U.S. Civil War 
entitled The Civil War or a film about the Vietnam 
War entitled The Vietnam War as opposed to 
Gone with the Wind and Apocalypse Now. 

By similar reasoning, one may not appropriate 
exclusively as the title of a biographical film the 
name of the portrayed figure. Further, when a 
work has entered the public domain for copyright 
purposes, and anybody may exploit the work, 
such work may be used under its original title. 
Thus, a film production of the play Hamlet may be 
so titled. Indeed, it was held that Walt Disney was 
not entitled to enjoin a competitor from releasing 
a motion picture entitled Alice in Wonderland 
subsequent to its release of a film of the same title 
on the grounds that anyone was free to do a movie 
of the Lewis Carroll story under its original title. 

However, to say that it is very difficult to 
protect highly descriptive titles is not to say that it 
is necessarily impossible. While these titles may 
be geographically descriptive, one would be hard 
pressed to argue that the Rodgers and Hammer- 
stein classics Oklahoma and South Pacific had not 
acquired strong secondary meaning. Further, an 
embellishment of an otherwise available name 
can be protected, as in the case of Jesus Christ 
Superstar. This also applies to portion of titles. 
and thus the descriptive portion of a title may well 
not be protected against third party use. The 
descriptiveness of the word "star" in connection 
with science fiction set in outer space accounts for 
why the highly successful Star Trek and Star \\ ars 
properties can co-exist. 

Of particular significance to the independent 
filmmaker, not onl\ titles ol blockbuster theatn- 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



FACULTY POSITION 
OFFERED: 

Antioch College seeks a 
Video/Film production 
faculty person for a one 
year appointment as Asst. 
Professor in a newly devel- 
oping program. Ability to 
inspire students and to 
teach all skills required for 
basic production work. 
Course content "flexible, 
depending on applicant's 
areas of expertise. MFA, or 
equivalent professional ex- 
perience, and an interest in 
teaching within a liberal 
arts program essential, 

Send letter, vita, three letters of ref- 
erence and sample syllabi to: 
Video/Film Search Commitee, 
Personal Office, Antioch College, 
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387. 
Deadline April 21st, 1988 
postmark. 



ON A 
BUDGET? 



0001 IDOIIIIDI 

MOTION MEDIA 

DDII I90IIIIDI 



Offers 

1 6 mm Mag Film Transfers 

1/4" or cassette, sync or wild 

$16.00 - hr 



Mag Film Stock 
$0.04 - ft 



Fast Service via UPS 

Write or Call: 

MOTION MEDIA CO. 

203 W. Holly, Suite M15 

Bellingham, WA 98225 

(206) 676-2528 



cal motion pictures with multi-million dollar box 
offices, but more modest productions can also 
acquire secondary meaning. Thus, an eight min- 
ute black and white film entitled Anything You 
Want to Be on the subject of sexual stereotyping, 
which had been widely distributed and promoted 
and critically well-received, was found to have 
acquired secondary meaning, and its producer 
was able to enjoin distribution of a seven minute 
film on the same subject entitled Anything They 
Want to Be and was also entitled to an award of 
damages. 

While essential, establishing secondary mean- 
ing is not in and of itself sufficient. The complain- 
ing party must also prove that the other party's 
title is likely to confuse the relevant public as to 
the source of the second party's product, or that 
the relevant public would believe that the original 
party was somehow associated or connected with 
the second party or its work. It should be noted that 
proof of actual confusion is not required; the test 
is likelihood of confusion. Of course, instances of 
actual confusion are highly persuasive in proving 
likelihood of confusion. As with secondary mean- 
ing, the issue of likelihood of confusion is a 
question of fact which would vary from case to 
case. Factors that are considered are: (a) the rela- 
tive degree of secondary meaning that the first 
title has achieved (also referred to as the strength 
of the title); (b) the degree of similarity between 
the respective titles; (c) similarity of subject 
matter of the works; (d) respective target markets; 
■ (e) respective target audiences; and (f) number of 
third party uses. Surveys may be helpful in either 
proving or disproving likelihood of confusion. 

It is not necessary for the titles to be identical 
for there to be likelihood of confusion. Minor 
variations in the title may be insufficient to dispel 
the likelihood of confusion. If the dominant or 
most salient feature of a title has been appropri- 
ated, a likelihood of confusion can be found even 
though other changes have been made in the title. 
However, if such a dominant portion of the mark 
is in wide use in other titles, the likelihood of 
confusion between these two particular titles 
would be reduced. 

The interplay between a dominant portion of a 
title and third party usage was present in a case 
involving a novel loosely based on an actual 
murder entitled Looking for Mr. Goodbar, the 
name Goodbar being fictional. The novel enjoyed 
wide critical acclaim and popular success and was 
later made into a theatrical motion picture of the 
same title. The novelist sought to enjoin the defen- 
dants from using the word "Goodbar" as part of 
the title of a major television movie concerning 
the actual murder and entitled Trackdown: Find- 
ing the Goodbar Killer. At an earlier stage in the 
case the parties had agreed that the defendants 
would include in the opening and closing credits 
of their movie a disclaimer to the effect that the 
movie was not related to the plaintiff's novel. The 
plaintiff then claimed that the defendants did not 
properly comply with this agreement and sought 



a permanent injunction against use of "Goodbar" 
in their title. 

While that court acknowledged that the title of 
the plaintiff's book may have initially acquired 
secondary meaning, it found that such secondary 
meaning had been whittled away by subsequent 
use of the term "Goodbar" in other works. A 
number of published articles and a third party 
novel used the word "Goodbar" as part of their 
titles in referring to the actual murder, and news- 
paper articles reinforced this association by refer- 
ring to the actual murder as the "Goodbar murder" 
and to the killer as the "Goodbar killer." The court 
further found evidence that the word itself had 
become used in the vernacular to identify the 
singles scene, a dangerous pick-up, or "Mr. 
Right." Such extensive third party use prompted 
the court to conclude that the plaintiff could no 
longer demonstrate secondary meaning in her 
title. The court also concluded that the plaintiff 
presented no evidence that the public was misled 
into believing that she had sponsored or was in 
any way involved in the production of the defen- 
dants' movie and that any possibility of confusion 
would be alleviated by the disclaimercontained in 
the prior agreement of the parties. The case illus- 
trates that one word or portion of a title can acquire 
secondary meaning and may be enjoined from use 
in another title which is otherwise different, but 
that unchallenged third party use of such other- 
wise protectible word can seriously erode the 
identity between the word and its initiator and 
hence diminish the likelihood of confusion. 

While the respective media in which the titles 
are used is a factor to be considered in determining 
likelihood of confusion, a finding of likelihood of 
confusion is not limited to film title versus film 
title or even book title versus film title, but can 
cross other media as well. For example, the pub- 
lisher of the satirical humor magazine National 
Lampoon was able to enjoin a national television 
network from using the title Lampoon or ABC 
Lampoon for a television series. The opposite can 
also occur. The producer of the reputed science 
television series Nova was able to enjoin use of 
Nova as the title of a science fiction, fantasy, and 
occult magazine. 

Other source identifying elements which have 
acquired secondary meaning, in addition to titles, 
can be enjoined from use by a third party as a title. 
The owner of rights in the Tarzan books and 
characters was able to enjoin use of such character 
names in the title Tarz & Jane & Boy & Cheeta for 
an X-rated film. The publisher of the Superman 
comic strip, whose popular superhero's alter ego. 
Clark Kent, is employed by the fictitious Me- 
tropolis newspaper called the Daily Planet. 
thwarted use of Daily Planet as the title of an 
"alternate culture" news publication. Appropria- 
tion of a successful merchandising property will 
also court danger, and a film producer using the 
title Barbie for a film featuring a hip teenage girl 
is inviting a lawsuit. 

The legal protection that may be available for 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



titles explains the need for title reports. Title 
reports can be obtained from various searching 
entities, who generally charge from $200 to $350 
for their reports. Title reports allow the producer 
and his/her attorney to survey the field, so to 
speak, and see what's out there. A title report will 
list titles and other names that are the same or 
similar, in whole or in part, to the title being 
searched, and will generally include titles of 
works registered in the U.S. Copyright Office, 
titles included in the Library of Congress's in- 
dexes, registration in the U.S. Trademark Office, 
and information appearing in the trade press, such 
as Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, Publisher's 
Weekly, and the New York Times. A report may 
also include information as to whether particular 
titles are still in distribution and in what media. 
While a title report will not contain information 
concerning all of the secondary meaning and 
likelihood of confusion factors discussed above, it 
should nonetheless assist the producer and coun- 
sel in making at least a rough assessment as to the 
advisability of adopting a particular title. In addi- 
tion, to the extent that the report does not appear 
conclusive, it may furnish leads that may be 
followed up on by the producer to refine a prelimi- 
nary conclusion and help determine whether or 
not adoption of a title is a reasonable business risk. 

A title report may also be necessary in order to 
obtain errors and omissions insurance coverage 
on the property. An E & O policy is obtained by a 
producer or publisher to indemnify against such 
claims as invasion of privacy, copyright infringe- 
ment, defamation, title plagiarism, and other 
types of unfair competition. In most cases, an E & 
O application will ask if a title report has been 
obtained. In some cases, the insurer may request 
an opinion of counsel that based on review of the 
report the title appears free for use. 

While it may not directly affect many inde- 
pendent film producers, they should be aware that 
another mechanism exists for screening proposed 
titles. The Title Registration Bureau administered 
by the Motion Picture Association of America 
provides a title registration service, but limited to 
titles of motion pictures intended for theatrical 
release in the United States. The service, available 
to both MPAA members and subscribing non- 
members, allows for registration of titles and 
accords such titles priority over subsequent re- 
quests to register the same or substantially similar 
titles, thus minimizing the possibility of two 
motion pictures bearing confusingly similar titles 
and hopefully reducing recourse to legal process 
to settle competing claims. The Bureau checks a 
title application against its registered titles and if 
it is clear, publishes it for review by members and 
subscribers, who have the opportunity to protest. 
In the event a protest cannot be resolved between 
the parties, there is provision for MPAA arbitra- 
tion of the dispute. This system is purely volun- 
tary, and the writer is aware of no lawsuit in which 
a party has sought to enforce the determination of 
the Bureau. 



APRIL 1988 



It is recommended that the film producer ob- 
tain a title report sooner rather than later. This 
enables the producer to attempt to clear a substi- 
tute title in the event the first title appears to be 
unavailable. In addition, if the report is inconclu- 
sive and further investigation is warranted, there 
will be sufficient time to do so. Certainly, the film 
producer does not want to be in a position where 
he/she has already invested time and money in 
promoting a title only to have to change it. Fur- 
ther, the longer the period that a producer has gone 
with a title the harder it is emotionally to relin- 
quish the title and adopt a new one. It is advisable 
that the producer come up with variations of a 
desired title or alternative titles to hold in reserve 
in case the report is negative. In some cases, if 
finances permit, it may be useful to search more 
than one title at the same time. 

In considering a title, the preferable choice, 
both from a defensive and offensive standpoint, is 
a highly creative or fanciful one. It is unlikely that 
such a title will infringe anyone else's rights, and 
it will be easier to police such a title against a 
second comer. Less desirable is selection of a 
highly descriptive title. Although from a defen- 
sive point of view, it would be difficult for a prior 
user to prove the requisite secondary meaning and 
likelihood of confusion to be able to enjoin such 
title, it would likewise be equally difficult to 
prevent subsequent use of the same or similar 
descriptive title by others. 

The economic importance of titles, the legal 
protection that may be afforded them, and the 
sanctions that may be incurred in infringing them, 
should prompt the filmmaker to conclude that the 
answer for him/her to Juliet's question "What's in 
a name?" could well be "The Name of the Game." 

Robert C. Harris is an attorney with the New York 
City firm of Leavy Rosensweig & Hyman, which 
specializes in entertainment law and represents 
independent film producers. 

© 1988 Robert C. Harris 



FIVF TAPE LIBRARY 

The FIVF Festival Bureau has estab- 
lished a tape library of members' cur- 
rent works to expedite screenings for 
upcoming film and video festivals. 
Members interested in depositing their 
work in the library should contact: 
Kathryn Bowser, Festival Bureau di- 
rector, FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012, (212) 473- 
3400. l /2 M and 3 A" tapes will be ac- 
cepted. 



K C C 



&L 



SKILLFUL,S)72.-able, adept, 
clever,competent, expert, 
ingenious, practiced, proficient. 

WE KNOW HOW TO 
WORK WITH YOU. 



CMX ON-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM to 1 " 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM PRODUCTION 

21' X 54' SOUND STAGE 



Contact Terri 
(212)228-3063 

31 BOND STREET N.Y., N.Y. 10012 



13 



±27 



|« 180 



H Hg(mercury) 
J^ medium arc 
iodides 

Lighting: 




212 935 7514 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



RISKY BUSINESS 

Das Kleine Fernsehspiel 
and West German TV 




From its headquar- 
ters in Mainz, 
Rheinland-Pfalz, ZDF 
broadcasts across 
West Germany. 

Courtesy ZDF 



Reinhard W. Wolf 



• WEST GERMAN TELEVISION • 

Until recently, television in West Germany was purely a public system. 
After World War II official West German radio and television broadcast 
policy established a TV system independent of government or private 
influence to replace the radio system that had been governed by the Nazi- 
regime. Therefore, West German TV was legally established as a nonprofit, 
incorporated public institution. The first nationwide television corporation 
was ARD ( Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Rundfunkanstalten Deutschlands) — a 
merger of nine federal corporations, which retain their sovereignty within 
the federation. Traditionally, their common nationwide channel is called the 
First Program. In 1963 a Second Program was added when ZDF (Zweites 
Deutsches Femsehen ) started broadcasting. Unlike ARD, ZDF is a central- 
ized, nationwide corporation based in Mainz, Rheinland-Pfalz. Mainz was 
chosen as the administrative seat for ZDF because it is the capital of the only 
federal state which had no radio and TV corporation at the time. Since all 
cultural matters in West Germany, including public broadcasting, lie within 
the jurisdiction of the federal states, ZDF — not a federation like the ARD 
members — is governed by an inter-state agreement. After the inauguration 
of ZDF, the so-called Third Programs were initiated — regional channels 
programmed by the ARD member corporations originally directed towards 



education and culture. Until recently those three channels, broadcasting 
roughly from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on a weekday, were the only ones a West 
German viewer could receive (not counting spill-overs of Third Program 
broadcasts in border regions). _ 

The institutional structures of these public television corporations are 
similar: a television board develops program guidelines and monitors their 
implementation, approves a budget, and elects a director general. An admin- 
istrative board supervises the financial management of the corporation, and 
the director general supervises management and is responsible for the 
structure and contents of actual programs. The West German public 
television statute guarantees the autonomy of ARD and ZDF and is 
supposed to insulate them from commercial and government interference. 
However, each television board consists of representatives of what are 
regarded as the "relevant groups of society," which necessarily include 
governments as well as political parties. The political parties have suc- 
ceeded in exerting the greatest influence on these boards, and they dominate 
policy by polarizing the other representatives along political lines. More- 
over, these corporations are usually headed by insiders from the political 
party in power in each federal state. The inter-state corporation ZDF. 
however, tends to represent the interests of the party in power in the national 
government. Those appointed to high positions within the corporations also 
tend to reflect the distribution of power among the major political parties 
that results from parliamentary elections. Therefore, television programs on 
public TV are closely observed by political parties and cater to their 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



Robert Braunkamp's Gelbe Sorte was a 1 987 
Kleine Fernsehspiel production. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



interests. These conditions especially affect public affairs programs, some- 
times leading to paralyzing pressures on journalists and program producers. 

The public TV systems in West Germany are subsidized by license fees 
paid by viewers — a monthly fee per television set — and financed by 
revenues from advertising. Over the years, the percentage of commercial 
revenue has increased (at ZDF it is now 40 to 50 percent). However, 
advertising on ARD and ZDF is restricted (ZDF allows an average of only 
20 minutes of commercials per weekday between 6 and 8 p.m.), and 
program sponsorship and product placement are regarded as unethical, 
although these practices sometimes occur. 

Another element in the development of West German television has been 
the tense relationship between public TV and the small German film 
industry. Soon after its inception, many believed that TV would destroy 
traditional cinema culture, and the current generation of German directors 
asked for funds to help an already ailing movie industry. As the result of 
pressure from filmmakers and the film industry, a TV-film agreement was 
negotiated, which designated a portion of the public television corpora- 
tions' budgets to be allocated for film coproductions, e.g., 12 million DM 
in 1986.* In addition to other public funding sources, this remains the most 
important support for a national cinema, although the domestic film 
industry has never been strong enough to compete successfully at the box 
office; only a handful of West German movies during the last 20 years have 
made a profit. Directors of the New German Cinema also complained about 
the aesthetic influence of the "amphibian movie," made to suit the big screen 
as well as the tiny box. Today, however, public TV has become the main 

* As of today $1.00 US was about 1.65 DM, and 1 DM is about 61 cents. 




employer for film professions and the most important film producer in the 
country, and these antagonisms have diminished somewhat. ZDF alone 
commissions independent (out-of-house) productions to the the tune of 260 
million DM annually. 

Yet for economically and artistically independent filmmakers, public TV 
does not offer enough airtime. With the advent of commercial TV there were 
some hopes for expanded opportunities to air independent work, but 
disillusionment has already set in. Alexander Kluge, who urged his 
filmmaker colleagues to bury their resentments towards commercial TV 
and join him in buying airtime on a private satellite, became quite isolated 
in his quest. He is now the lone producer of the Filmmaker' s Hour, a one- 
hour weekly show on a commercial channel with a very small audience. 

For more than 20 years public TV held a monopoly in broadcasting. 
Recent legal and political decisions promulgated by the Christian Demo- 
cratic Party, however, have opened the airways to private, truly commercial 
TV. Now there are two additional national networks in operation, which are 
commercial, yet legally regulated. These are mainly broadcast via satellite 
and are available on a few cable networks that reach only a small number 
of German households. Initially, commercial TV met substantial popular 




Burkhard Steger directed Pseudo, with 
May Buchgraber as Ina, with support from 
KF. The film was aired by ZDF last Decem- 
ber. 



Courtesy filmmaker 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 




Bill Viola's 1986 videotape / Do Not Know What It 
Is I Am Like benefitted from KF funding. 

Photo: Kirc Perov. courtesy Museum of Modern Art 



opposition, and now, soon after its introduction, its opponents fear a 
deterioration of program quality. Supporters of commercial TV, the print 
media, and the movie industry, on the other hand, predict greater variety, 
and expect public TV to specialize in public affairs programs. 

Quite confused by these rapid changes in the television landscape, ARD 
and ZDF have refused the scenario offered by their commercial counter- 
parts and reacted competitively, trying to achieve higher ratings with more 
popular programs. Both public TV networks have also opted to compete 
with commercial companies for satellite transponder space. With these 
myriad developments of the recent past and immediate future, TV in West 
Germany will never be the same. The question for the future will be: Will 
we get more choices or just more of the same? - 



♦ DAS KLEINE FERNSEHSPIEL • 

Das kleine Fernsehspiel (the Small Television Play) is a sub-department of 
ZDF's Television Drama and Film Department (Hauptredaktion Fern- 
sehspiel und Film), as well as the title of the program it produces, usually 
broadcast at 10:15 on Tuesday evening. It is the only department in all of 
German television with a mandate to commission experimental and inno- 
vative independent work. The size of the actual department is inversely 
proportional to its reputation; under the direction of Eckart Stein, only 10 
commissioning editors work for the program. Seven of them are based at 
ZDF headquarters in Mainz, which employs roughly 600 editors {Re- 
dakteure) and 3,000 employees. Bound only by ZDF's general program 
guidelines, the autonomous program policy of Das kleine Fernsehspiel (KF) 
is based on the concept of an open workshop for innovative TV and film, 
and, within the scope of ZDF programs, KF provides an alternative to 
mainstream TV with the privilege of not having to satisfy mass audiences. 
According to Stein, the program's title refers to being small but indepen- 
dent, while the word "play" hints at a space free from formal restrictions. 

The editors who work for KF act as commissioning editors only, and all 
artistic decisions are left to the film/videomaker. With an overall annual 
budget of about 1 1 million DM. KF has a capacity to commission 40 
productions per year. About half of the 40 productions fall within the 
category of Kamerafilms, with budgets of up to 130,000 DM each. In 
making a Kamerafilm there are no formal or administrative restrictions. The 
other works supported by KF are coproductions or more expensive produc- 
tions, sometimes called Studiofilmes. 

Since KF provides a rare chance for any independent video- or 
filmmaker, the number of proposals submitted is great — about 1.500 
proposals every year. The application for a KF production has no specific 



form: from a script of many hundred pages to video sample reels to letters 
written in a coffeehouse — almost every kind of proposal is possible. The 
preferred form, however, is an essay in letter form. Work using any film 
gauge from super 8 to 35mm, any video standard, or combinations of video 
and film may be proposed and have been accepted. There are also no 
restrictions on length. Yet, judging by recent KF broadcasts, there is a strong 
preference for 60- to 90-minute movies or videotapes. (Proposals can be 
sent or given to individual editors or to the department: ZDF, Das kleine 
Fernsehspiel, Box 4040, 6500 Mainz, West Germany.) Each proposal sent 
to the department is read by two editors, who take turns performing this 
demanding job. Those ideas that spark the interest of at least one editor are 
then discussed at a monthly meeting of the entire team. Since each editor is 
free to make autonomous decisions, no vote takes place without extensive 
discussion. Although KF's common practice is to select projects which are 
unanimously supported, in the case of dissent, a minority opinion may 
prevail if the project is strongly defended by at least one member of the team. 

When funding is approved, the film/videomaker is allowed unrestricted 
freedom in the realization of the idea and in administering the budget. The 
KF production procedure favors independent producers by paying about 
one third of the budget before production begins, alleviating the need for 
bank loans or additional grant funds. The second payment follows the 
presentation of rushes, and the final installment is paid after completion. 
Although there are no absolute rules, in most KF contracts the film/ 
videomaker retains theatrical rights whereas ZDF claims the German- 
speaking TV rights. In the case of sales, the partners — ZDF and the 
producer — usually share the profits. And the commissioning editor often 
keeps in contact with the film/videomaker after completion and assists in 
marketing . 

Because of KF's policy of noninterference during production, inexperi- 
enced film/videomakers run the risk of mismanagement. For many new- 
comers, a KF commission is the first jump into cold water — and, perhaps, 
the last chance to make a work under such ideal circumstances. There is little 
likelihood of a second commission since KF's practice is to work with as 
many different producers as possible. Only a handful of filmmakers have 
produced two or three (the maximum so far) KF projects. Additionally, the 
pressure to produce a broadcastable program puts pressure on a neophyte 
film- or videomaker. 

Aware of these problems, KF has recently created another funding 
category designed as a kind of talent test. They now offer film/videomakers 
the opportunity to produce a short work, completely unrestricted in form 
and content, which will not be broadcast. Although each grant of 5,000 DM 
for these "auditions" represents next to nothing as film or tape budgets go. 
it is enough to make a short film on super 8 or a tape using consumer video 
formats. Regrettably, only six or seven of these mini-grants are awarded per 
year. However, KF's initiative is praiseworthy and demonstrates a commit- 
ment for newcomers absent elsewhere in the media business. 

The institution of KF has not remained stagnant but has developed 
dynamically in the midst of ongoing discussions about the state of innova- 
tive TV and filmmaking. The structuring of KF as a workshop implies that 
it will contribute new work for these discussions and not concern itself with 
producing the next hot movie. The individual works that comprise its series 
are part of an innovative process, which necessarily includes some failed 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



We Were So Beloved, Manfred Kirchheimer's film 

about the German Jews of Washington Heights, 

New York, received support from KF. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



experiments. Thus, watching KF each Tuesday resembles a roll of the dice. 
Sometimes it's awful. The next week there is a work that shouldn't be 
missed. Viewing a year's schedule retrospectively, however, even the less 
successful single programs appear to contribute to this process. And KF can 
boast a long list of highly successful movies, for example Jim Jarmusch's 
Stranger than Paradise and Lars van Trier's The Element of Crime. The 
television viewer must therefore be ready for anything whenever he or she 
tunes in KF. For a public TV program in Germany, this is unusual. Like most 
large corporations, the television companies tend to play it safe, and, besides 
KF, there is little space for experimentation in this context. Programming 
innovations are generally imported, such as those found on entertainment 
programs which are derived from similar shows in the U.S. 

Within this atmosphere, an exceptional department like KF operates 
under considerable stress. Not only is there growing sensitivity to audience 
ratings among public TV producers, but also expectations from the inde- 
pendent filmmaking community itself. This pressure produces constant 
discussion, if not conflict, among members of the KF team — between those 
who favor more accepted methods of television production and those who 
want to risk accepting unusual ideas from independents. Years ago there 
were filmmakers who criticized KF for being too eager to follow the latest 
underground fashion. Today, however, there is a growing skepticism 
among the KF team toward the underground scene's latest flowers. Partly, 
this comes from the fear of falling into the trap of hipness, partly it is the 
result of the state of independent filmmaking, making it hard to judge 
fashionable bric-a-brac from truly innovative work. Such discussions about 
innovative filmmaking in the KF department and elsewhere in Germany 
suffer from the same problems as the discussion on contemporary art in 
general: there is a growing sense of helplessness in judging the aesthetic 
quality of art beyond what is already established and accepted. 

With the inception of the new satellite channel 3-SAT, which ZDF shares 
with ORF (Austria) and SRG (Switzerland), there is a chance for KF to carry 
its experiments even further. KF has an option to program 10 all-day slots 
per year on this new channel, and plans are now underway for a series that 
takes advantage of television's character as a supplier of an incessant flow 
of images and information from various sources. With this in mind, the KF 
department will test the concept of combining live broadcasts with pretaped 
programs under various thematic umbrellas, with one theme explored 
during a full day's broadcast. There are several program ideas currently 
under discussion that might be included in such a combination: a live 
"citizens' forum," regional programs with documentaries from local groups 
(like the documentaries produced by independent workshops in Great 
Britain that are aired by Channel Four), games, interviews, satirical pieces, 
and new television forms (such as a popular science program based on 
alternative scientific research). A sort of trial run was already instituted by 
Eckart Stein, when he coordinated a day-long program on Berlin for the new 
French satellite channel, La Sept. KF editor Hans Kutnewsky, however, is 
now in charge of the pilot program for 3-SAT, a "Hungarian Day." Under 
the heading "The European Neighbor," similar programs related to the 
various countries sharing border with Germany are being considered. Since 
KF has no additional funds for these 10 days of programming for 3-SAT, 
however, the traditional commissioned productions will receive less. But a 
potentially greater obstacle to the plan was encountered when one wing of 




the ECS 1 satellite, which carried transponders for three channels including 
3-SAT, did not unfold following its launch. The other wing can only carry 
two channels, and is still uncertain whether 3-SAT will be one of these. 

Thanks to Eckart Stein and Liane Jessen of Das kleine Fernsehspiel for help in 
preparing this article. 

Reinhard W. Wolf is a writer and film teacher as well as the cofounder and 
codirector, with Chris tiane Schauder, ofKOB-8 Filmbiiro, an organization 
in Mainz, West Germany, that supports super 8 filmmakers through a 
variety of services. Wolf and Schauder were profiled in the March 1987 
issue of The Independent. 

©1988 Reinhard W. Wolf 



VOCABULARY 



Das kleine Fernsehspiel: The Small Television Play. A sub-depart- 
ment of the Television Drama and Film Department in the ZDF 
network. Also: the name of the time slot for productions of this 
department. Originally named after low-budget teleplays, now any 
kind of movie or video produced by the department. 

Redakteur, Redakteurin: Editor, or commissioning editor. A term 
taken from the newspaper profession, now a title in radio and TV. 
which may cover diverse functions from journalistic to film directing 
or producing. A corresponding term in the movie industry for the job 
of a Redakteurin (f. ) or Redakteur (m.) at the Kleine Fernsehspiel 
would be: Executive Producer in Charge of Production. For the 
actual filmmaker she or he is also a liaison with the the producer ' s big 
money (e.g., ZDF) or simply a sympathetic friend. A Redakteur is, 
however, never a film editor, an anchorperson, a studio boss, or a 
person with a camera in hand. 

Kamerafilm: The KF department's name for a low-budget Kleine 
Fernsehspiel, which is quite often, but not necessarily, made by a 
filmmaker who combines the tasks of scriptwriter, director, editor, 
and/or cameraperson. A Kamerafilm also is a production category 
where the Redakteur exercises as little financial control and artistic 
influence as possible. Almost ail foreign commitments of the Kleine 
Fernsehspiel department are Karncrafilrm. 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 




INTERVIEW WITH 

EC- iv ART STEIN 

DIRECTOR OF DAS KLEINE FERNSEHSPIEL, ZDF 



Reinliard Wolf: Das kieine Fernsehspiel commissions some foreign 
work. Are there any quotas for foreign productions? What experience 
have you had with foreign productions, especially in the U.S.? And what 
do you think will develop from the experience you have gained there? 
Eckart Steia: There are no quotas governing our foreign commissions* 
but we believe that our focus should remain in the German-speaking 
sphere. Our foreign commissions have been diverse. For example, we 
have a Jong-standing commitment in Hungary. There are regular rela- 
tions with the U.K. via Channel Four and, recently, with France's new 
channel, La Sept. Finally, for many years we have often worked with in- 
dependent filmmakers in the U.S. American independents have enriched 
our program and influenced our filmmakers — multiplied again via our 
audience — with many good ideas. But we have now come to realize that 
we should limit our commitment there, because we noted that we were 
having an impact on the product there. To put it inversely: because of KF 
certain American independent movies came into existence which were 
more directed towards European festival audiences than towards, for 
instance, an American audience. 
R W: Can you oudine the implications of this tendency? 
ES: There is a filmmaking syndrome all over the world, which I regard 
as a cultural sickness , called festival culture. There are filmmakers whose 
conception of the world or of human beings is conceived only in terms of 
festivals. In many ways, we at KF have sinned as well — not only among 
American filmmakers but also at home. For a workshop set up to foster 
innovation it is logical that elitist or marginal productions geared toward 
insiders may be taken for really innovative work. As a German TV 
workshop this might be excusable in regards to German or German- 
speaking filmmakers, because we thereby mirror German reality. But it 
is hardly excusable to pursue this in theU.S., where wecan easily provide 
akind of luxurious ghetto. This happened several times, and we suddenly 
noticed that we had raised unhealthy amphibians: products half-Euro- 
pean, half -American, which, however, drowned in the middle of the 
Atlantic Ocean. 

RW: What are your experiences in finding production partners in the 
U.S.? 

ES: For years I tried in vain to find partners for an institutional coopera- 
tion in the U.S. like our cooperation with Channel Four in the U.K. or La 
Sept in France. I had always hoped to find this kind of support in the 
public TV system, but my efforts failed . Occ asionally they took programs 
we produced, but they never coproduced with us. Therefore, we have not 
slammed the door, but we became very skeptical. We decided that our 
participation might perhaps be more important for projects in the third 
world rather than keeping an art scene in the U.S. alive. There are perhaps 
regions in the world which accept help more gratefully — and I use this 
word carefully in a political sense and not in a moral sense — where help 
is used more effectively than in the U.S., where, I guess, we have acted 
too complacently. 

RW: Is what you said about public TV also true of other potential U.S. 
partners, perhaps single stations or channels? 
ES: They could be partners, but they have never contacted us, 
RW: What about independent TV workshops in the U.S.? For instance, 
there were three ZDF-WGBH coproductions. 

ES: Sure, but again that is an institution which would depend on our help 
so much that there is no real counterweight or real partnership to put on 
the scale. And as long as there are no equivalent or equally strong partner 



to work with we run into a lot of problems. One of the problems is that 
movies never get finished. There is also a different understanding about 
honoring contracts. When we make an agreement with an American 
filmmaker, we have to consider that the contract will be violated in a 
degree unknown to us in all the rest of the world. Even the poorest 
filmmakers in the poorest nations in the third world keep more faith wife 
our agreements than the majority of our American partners. They have 
often used us to get start-up funds and sometimes let us wait for delivery 
of the finished work for years while they looked for additional revenues. 
We can not engage with such contractual mentalities, because our object 
is to broadcast and not to become a kind of movie museum for financial 
stunts. The effect would be — and we have actually experienced this — 
that an American finishes the movie after four or five years, which more 
often leaves behind financial ruins than a filmed contribution to a lively 
debate. 

R W: This is perhaps an effect of the grant system in which yoa tap one 
fund after the other? 

ES: Yes, but this system is incompatible with our contracts. It took us a 
long time to learn. There were people who said, "Yes, you will getthe film 
in June," and in June then said, "You'll get it in October," and in October 
it's postponed until May. Finally we had to hunt for additional funds 
ourselves. Eventually we succeededin raisingmore money and then hear, 
"Yes, when we receive it we will finish" but after half a year we 
ascertained that it was used for filling some holes in the budget . This is 
a behavior which we can hardly tolerate- It is also unfair to other 
filmmakers who fulfill their contracts. To sum up, there is indeed an 
incompatibility in the understanding of what a contract means. 
R W: And there is probably no way to monitor a production in the U.S. 
effectively? 

ES: Our working system is completely based on trust Even with people 
who live just around the comer or on the next block this trust is seldom 
violated. There were, of course, disappointments concerning the product, 
but it rarely happens that we receive false information or that we are not 
informed at all. I rather believe (hat the situation develops because of the 
grant survival syndrome, that American filmmakers work from grant to 
grantand regard us as amatching or primary grant supplier, but notreally 
as a partner. That's where difficulties originate. 
R W: How ts it possible to assist productions at all? 
ES: There are various contributions we can and do make. Whenever we 
feel that there are uncertainties we will, of course, give advice or may 
even make recommendations. We help in ways which we regard as 
convenient, since we are clearly interested that those people don't go 
bust In those cases our experiences here are naturally more extensive 
than in the U.S., where our ability to help is limited. Now and then 
Channel Four might step in when there is a need. However, through 
experience we learned that when we recommended a project to Channel 
Four which subsequently is not completed this irresponsible behavior 
prejudiced other projects we coproduced with the Channel. In effect, we 
became muchmore cautious in acting asago-betweenfor U.S. producers 
with Channel Four. Our basic view towards our American friends is quite 
depressing —and we do have quite a number of friends mere, from many 
common projects. 

RW: And there are some strong movies. 
ES: Quite a number of strong movies came out of this! 

© 1988 Retebard W. Wolf 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



Glasnost and Georgian Cinema 




Because the princess 
in Eduard Nazarov's 
animated short 
Martynko (1987) is 
named Raiska, the 
film has been 
mistaken as a 
commentary on Raisa 
Gorbachev. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Karen Rosenberg 



You have to help the talented ones. The untalented will get ahead on their own. 

— a proverb related by Tengiz Abuladze 

When you talk about film in the Soviet Union, you're apt to encounter the 
words "conscience" and "honesty" frequently. First and foremost, that's 
what the Soviet intelligentsia look for in filmmakers — in their lives and in 
their work. During the Brezhnev-era stagnation (as it's now called in the 
Soviet press), honesty and conscience meant not praising the government 
and the Party for what they had failed to deliver. Or, hinting as much as you 
could about what was wrong in society and not buckling under completely 
when bureaucrats got the hint. During my recent trip to the USSR, Soviet 
director Aleksandr Rekhviashvili reminded me that, in the Russian tradi- 
tion, artists are supposed to be martyrs who sacrifice themselves for truth. 
And, although the Soviet Union is a lot bigger than the republic of Russia 
and the movies made there contain much that isn't considered purely art, the 
influence of that tradition can be felt in Soviet cinema. 

In January, I spent a week in Tbilisi, the capital of the Soviet republic of 
Georgia. I went there as a guest of a children's film festival, and when I 
wasn't screening the kids' creations, 1 searched out filmmakers like Rekhvi- 
ashvili. Then I stayed a week in Moscow, where the Filmmakers Associa- 
tion — the national organization of directors, critics, and film profession- 
als — helped arrange screenings and more interviews. Because I speak 
Russian, I was able to get along without a translator, but that removed only 
one impediment to communication. "1 didn't tell you everything I think," 
one filmmaker confessed with charming candor after our interview. To 
some extent, what appears as reluctance can be the result of sincere 



confusion. As a screenwriter explained to me, "We don't know how to talk 
among ourselves yet." Others, however, were willing to complain and 
criticize on tape, with no pleas to omit their names from the record. In doing 
so, they underline the importance of journalism in the project of glasnost, 
which is similarly reflected in recent Soviet documentary films. For 
example, when Juris Podnieks gives a microphone to members of Soviet 
society who had been shut out of public discourse — a burnt-out veteran of 
the war in Afghanistan, a young man who craves a lot of money, a follower 
of Hare Krishna — in Is It Easy to Be Young? (1986), audiences in the USSR 
listen. 

With the greater openness of glasnost, Soviet fiction filmmakers also 
have more opportunities to tell the truth as they see it. The May 1986 
congress that elected director Elem Klimov, a supporter of Gorbachev's 
policies, as the head of the Filmmakers Association simultaneously ousted 
conservatives from leadership positions and put them on the defensive. (The 
shift in the Writers Union, in contrast, was not as great.) Those who have lost 
their influence and prestige are known as the "injured" ones. Often, they are 
also the so-called "grey" directors who produced dull and orthodox films. 
The new leadership of the Association has introduced a system under which 
directors will be able to work for any studio in the Soviet Union, rather than 
working through only one, as was common practice in the past. Filmmakers 
that produce hits are sure to do well, but the "grey" ones may have to 
scrounge for work in television or take jobs as assistant directors. There's 
even talk of setting up a fund to help them financially until they find other 
employment. 

In this new era, the most important art is no longer that which is boring 
and predictable, as it has often been since Stalin's day. But there are some 
who say it could be even more vital. The pro-perestroika (restructuring) 
forces break down into those who are more pro than others. From some film 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 




professionals I heard complaints about the slow pace of change. A number 
of them charge that the Moscow film school ( VGIK), which has produced 
many "grey" directors and employed others as instructors, still emphasizes 
"correct" politics and traditional techniques rather than creativity, individu- 
ality, and experimentation. Debate on this topic has been acrimonious and 
heated. 

And some of the more liberal elements in Soviet society are scornful of 
popular directors who exploit formerly forbidden themes to achieve box 
office success. "Now a lot is being said about Stalin and Stalinism, and I 
actually think there's some opportunism in this, as strange as that may 
seem," Soviet director Irakli Kvirikadze commented. "People are making 
their careers on this material. In the film archives, everybody is sitting and 
looking at clips about Stalin, Stalin, Stalin. They're no longer interested in 
anything else. Before, the very same people were all praising Brezhnev. 
Brezhnev, Brezhnev." A considerable number of the Soviet intelligentsia 
demands risk in art, and fashionable choices make them curl their lips. 

When glasnost has pushed back the limits, what remains risky? The 
debate over which foreign films to import to the USSR provides some idea. 
In a recent issue of the journal Soviet Screen, Klimov wrote that the works 
of Marco Ferreri, Liliana Cavani. and Pier Paolo Pasolini, which contain a 
great deal of brutality and/or eroticism, will not, he thinks, be shown in the 
near future in the USSR. (Pornography, war-mongering, and anti-Soviet 
agitation are forbidden by law in the USSR, although what these words 
mean in practice is always a matter of interpretation.) It is possible that the 
leadership of the Association has nothing against these directors' work but 
doesn't want to press too hard too fast for fear of triggering a sharp reaction 
against glasnost. After all, during a visit to the U.S. in 1986, Klimov was 
quoted as saying that he liked Blue Velvet. And, in some instances, the film 
bureaucracy has proved more permissive than viewers. Soviet journals 
contain sections in which film officials respond to readers' opinions. There 
bureaucrats have argued that particular foreign movies are not anti-Soviet 
or overly erotic, while their readers believe the opposite. Although Klimov 
stepped down as head of the Filmmakers Association last February — in 
order to direct a new film — Andrei Smirnov, his replacement, probably 
won't change the organization's liberal orientation. 

It may take a while to erode the puritanical and paranoid legacy of 
Stalinism, however. Animator Eduard Nazarov has had some difficulty 
convincing people that his short film Martynko (1987) is not about Raisa 
Gorbachev, even though one character is a princess with the nickname 
Raiska. The film is based on a work by Boris Shergin first published decades 
ago, as Nazarov has vehemently reminded everyone who's asked — includ- 
ing an employee of Goskino, the state agency that decides how many prints 
of a film will be made and where they'll be shown. If, because of a mistaken 
interpretation, this delightful fairy tale about magic cards and apples isn't 



Elem Klimov's historical film Come and See (1985) 
tells the story of a teenage partisan in Nazi-occupied 
Byelorussia in 1943. Klimov recently resigned as 
secretary general of the national Filmmakers Asso- 
ciation in order to begin work on a new film. 

Courtesy International Film Exchange 
BELOW: 

Is It Easy to Be Young? (1986), produced at Riga Film 
Studios by Juris Podnieks, is a film about youth sub- 
cultures and generation gaps in the Soviet Union and 
has provoked much discussion. 

Courtesy International Film Exchange 



widely distributed, it would be a shame. Westerners have often been 
accused of reading politics into Soviet art. Sometimes we do — and some- 
times the Soviets do, too. 

And then there's the sticky matter of so-called "formalism" in the arts. 
Tatlin, Malevich, and Lissitzky — to name a few of the most prominent 
Russian modern visual artists of the early post-Revolution period — have 
had a much greater impact on western art and graphic design than in their 
native land. And the Soviet break with international modernism is even 
greater in film — despite the importance of Soviet filmmakers like Eisen- 
stein to that movement. Avant-garde films could never enter the country as 
easily as art books, by post or by hand. I checked with various Soviet 
directors who told me they were interested in formal innovation, but none 
had heard of Maya Deren or Stan Brakhage. A few Soviet film historians 
have, however, since I dug out a 1975 issue of the Soviet theoretical journal 
Questions of Film Art that contains an article blasting Film Culture for its 
art-for-arf s-sake orientation. In Tbilisi I asked Klimov-supporter Eldar 
Shengelaya, head of the Georgian Filmmakers Association, whether it 
would now be possible to show U.S. experimental films in the USSR. He 
answered, "We haven't gotten to that point yet." 

Over the past few decades, when Soviet filmmakers have experimented 
with cinematic form, it was not to make films about film but — almost 
always — films about honesty and conscience. Political liberals in the USSR 
tend to be less conservative when it comes to form, and vice versa. 
Tarkovsky is only the most famous example. Tengiz Abuladze deserves to 
be known not just for Repentance but for the other films in his trilogy about 
tyranny and its victims. The first of these, Supplication (variously translated 
as The Plea, A Prayer, The Entreaty, The Appeal, and Invocation) is a 




24 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 




visually powerful work, a carefully-composed black and white counter- 
point to the Georgian poetry of Vazha Pshavela on the soundtrack. (The film 
can be found at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley.) "This is neither a 
biographical film nor an adaptation of one of Pshavela's works for the 
screen." Abuladze told me, but an attempt to present the world of the poet's 
mind — the fears, hopes, and questions that gnawed at him. The transience 
of all things made the material world seem unreal to the poet and, in 
Abuladze's film, this is conveyed through the use of solarization and other 
photographic techniques. A woman in white represents goodness, beauty, 
and truth and is contrasted with a society that demands that the hands of 
fallen enemies be severed and displayed. The hero, who perceives that the 
enemy he has slain is an honorable man, refuses to perform this act and is 
then martyred for his stance by his village. In the Brezhnev period, Goskino 
made only 1 50 copies of this film about conscience, for screenings restricted 
to Soviet film clubs and cultural centers. 

Other avant-garde films were banned outright in that era. Nodar Man- 
agadze showed me his Legends That Became Life made in 1977, only 
recently released for distribution in the USSR. Its strength, too, lies in its 
careful, elegantly composed shots and unexpected editing, which juxta- 
poses several sketchy narratives: in Georgia — somewhere, sometime — a 
church is being built, a man is looking for a wife, a priest is teaching his craft 
to a novitiate, while a battle with an unspecified enemy goes on in the misty 
background, creating a vague impression of gloom and danger. Perhaps this 
film was shelved for what it lacked — optimism, a neat plot, concrete 
historical data. "Sometimes [censorship] was just chance," Managadze 
remarked softly, philosophically. 

Among recent Soviet films, I was struck by Rekhviashvili's The Step 
(1986), which skillfully employs a slow camera moving through narrow 
rooms and corridors to build a suffocating atmosphere. In the young male 
hero's comic, surrealistic apartment, everyone who enters has a strange 
obsession — growing mushrooms in the basement, placing a puppy on a 
revolving phonograph turntable, watering exuberant plants — that ulti- 
mately seems trivial, boring, alienating. By framing his characters in 
thresholds and doorways, Rekhviashvili emphasizes their isolation, their 
inability to enter into each other's lives. In the final sequence, however, the 
hero rejects claustrophobic space for the open hills. "I don't know how we 
should live, but we should live differently," the director, a former camera- 
man, said. Although his film is in Georgian, there is nothing at all provincial 
about the problems it addresses. "All my films are built around eternal 
ethical concepts — Christian moral principles — which exist in America, 
Georgia, Germany, wherever," he explained. 

It's probably no coincidence that these three unconventional films were 
made in Georgia, since even under Brezhnev the Gruziafilm studio in Tbilisi 
was characterized by its greater acceptance of unconventional talent. In the 




Sergei Paradjanov and 
Dodo Abachidze's The 
Legend of Suram Fortress 
(1985) features a number 
of tableaux vivants and 
has been related 
stylistically to dance 
films and early silent 
films. 

Courtesy International Film 
Exchange 



After a term in prison, the 

celebrated Ukrainian 

filmmaker Sergei 

Paradjanov found a 

haven at Gruziafilm's 

studio in Tbilisi, Georgia. 

Photo: Sergei Ivanov 

twenties, it had its avant garde, exemplified by Kote (Konstantin) Mika- 
beridze's rarely seen My Grandmother (1929), in which a paper-pushing 
bureaucrat is skewered by a gigantic pen. One of the most formally interest- 
ing filmmakers working in Georgia today is Sergei Paradjanov. After his 
imprisonment in the 1970s (for trafficking in art objects or on charges 
related to homosexuality and pornography, depending on which western 
sources you read), he moved to Tbilisi, where he eventually made The 
Legend of Suram Fortress (1985). 

Despite the well-known fact that Stalin came from Georgia, this region 
has a tradition of tolerance of various religions and peoples. And cultural 
traditions in Georgia aren't counted in decades. When I asked one-time film 
director Rezo Gabriadze about movie-making in Georgia, he traced it to the 
theater of the Byzantine Greeks. "Filmmakers all over the world think that 
before them there was nothing, and they came like messiahs and brought us 
art. But that's just a disease of youth and superficiality," he noted. Abuladze 
and Nodar Managadze, among others, studied at the Georgian theater 
institute in Tbilisi (the school recently added a film-directing department). 
Gabriadze's marionette theater company and the Rustaveli Theater in 
Tbilisi enjoy international fame for their imaginative productions. The 
influence of theater is obvious when Georgian stage actors appear on- 
screen. 

Distance from the center, too, probably helped give Georgian cinema 
room to create some alternatives to socialist realism. "We are a small, 
provincial studio." Shengelaya told me. "A provincial studio is allowed a 
little naughtiness." For example, Georgian comedies by Eldar Shengelaya 
and others feature anti-heroes with human weaknesses, far from the ideal- 
ized New (socialist) Man who appears as a stock character in plenty of 
Moscow film studio productions. And then there's the crucial matter of 
political support. Abuladze says that the former first secretary of the central 




Eldar Shengelaya, head 
of the Georgian 
Filmmakers Association. 

Photo Sergei Ivanov 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



Shoot Films 



The American-Soviet Film Initiative (ASFI) is an ex- 
citing experiment: an attempt to bring filmmakers to- 
gether so they can exchange films, plan coproductions, 
discuss ideas. Although officially established in June 
1987, ASFI grew out of earlier talks between Mark 
Gerzon, a California writer and producer, and Elem 
Klimov, whose directing credits include Come and See and Farewell. 
The first Entertainment Summit in March 1987 brought to the U.S. 
Soviet directors (including Klimov and Eidar Shengelaya), television 
commentator Viktor Posner, and a prominent film critic, an actress, and 
a screenwriter. Viktor Dyomin, the film critic and Klimov-supporter, 
noted that less than half of the Soviet delegation consisted of Commu- 
nist Party members, adding that a successful filmmaker need no longer 
be in the Party. 

There's no doubt that this visit was a child of the parents glasnost 
(greater openness) and perestroika (restructuring). In meetings with 
producers, directors, school children, and others, the first Entertainment 
Summit stressed the stereotypes of Americans who appear in Soviet 
films, and the reverse. Clips from both countries were screened and, not 
surprisingly, it was found that we act like fat-cat, loud-mouthed ugly 
Americans in many of their movies, while they come across as poker- 
faced, underhanded automatons in many of ours. The decision not to 
broadcast the Amerika mini-series in the USSR was a good one, Klimov 
asserted, because it would only have angered Soviets and worsened 
relations between the two countries. 

The proposed solution to Cold War representations was that we 
should criticize, but not ban, such distortions. "We feel that the best 
defense against films which dehumanize the other is the personal ethical 
responsibility of a cinematographer," said the draft of a press release 
jointly written by Soviets and Americans at the Rockefeller family estate 
in Pocantico Hills, New York. Both Soviet and U.S. films should be 
shown on television in the other country, declared Shengelaya. Others 
added that Soviets should play themselves in our films and the other way 
around. Someone proposed a bumper sticker saying, "Shoot films, not 
rockets." Meanwhile, warnings were voiced about substituting positive 
simplifications for negative ones. 

The Soviet delegation was also critical of its own film tradition, 
including Solo Voyage, reportedly the Russian Rambo. Screenwriter 
Rustam Ibragimbekov recounted that a Brezhnev-era bureaucrat for- 
bade him to mention a round breast in one of his film. "I asked her," he 
reported, '"Have you ever seen a square one?'" Klimov was interviewed 
widely about his once-banned films and about the changes signalled by 
his election to the leadership of the Filmmakers Association (see 
accompanying article). Rarely has the Soviet film industry gotten such 
concentrated attention in the U.S. media. 

According to the LA Times, some Soviet directors wanted to discuss 
concrete projects during their visit and were disappointed that this didn't 
happen. Still, a number of general proposals came out of the meetings, 
including exchanges of film students, films, and videotapes; joint 
professional conferences; and the employment of Americans to play 
themselves in Soviet films and vice versa. At the June announcement of 
ASFI's establishment, executive director Barbara Cofftnan also prom- 
ised an information and referral service and coproduction consultation. 




AMERICAN-SOVIET 
FILM INITIATIVE 



Not Rockets 



In July, an ASFI press conference talked of a pro- 
posed computerized exchange of storyboards be- 
tween the U.S . and the USSR, reciprocal visits of film 
critics, and a monthly newsletter. Subsequently, the 
periodical Kinosphere has appeared. 

Held in January 1988, Entertainment Summit H 
was hosted by the Soviets in Moscow, and Tbilisi. During a 10-day visit, 
nine American film and television professionals (including actors Keith 
Carradine and Dennis Weaver) and ASFI staffers met with high-level 
Soviet film officials. In fact, "key players" was an oft-repeated word at 
the press conference at a Hollywood hotel held immediately following 
the second summit Yet such diplomacy may pay off. According to ASFI 
vice president Lindsay Smith, the Soviets were willing to talk about how 
they could structure their production system so U.S. filmmakers could 
work with them. Because of perestroika, every Soviet film agency is in 
flux, and this may have created an opening for U.S. input. Another 
example of this "summit" orientation is the plan to send excerpts of U.S. 
fiction features and documentaries to the Supreme Soviet for screening 
and to show clips of Soviet films in the U.S. Congress. 

The results of the second meeting were more specific than the first, 
ASFI established television, documentary, and animation divisions, and 
an exchange of documentary filmmakers is in the works for this spring. 
Also, the group facilitated an agreement with Soviet television to screen 
U.S. animation. Ilmar Taska, who serves as the international vice 
president of ASFI and its coproduction consultant, says of the animation 
program, "At present it's a non-currency deal, but we hope that later 
there will be money." A Saturday morning cartoon program for children 
is currently being arranged, an evening of animation for adults is under 
discussion, and Taska says he's willing to consider work by U.S. 
independents as well as films from the studios. 

"We've been involved wifh independents from the beginning," ASFI 
president Gerzon told me. "The Sundance Institute and the Independent 
Feature Project were among the sponsors of the first summit. The 
Soviets should get to know our film system in all its complexity — they 
think we are run by big companies. Coproductions are more likely to 
involve independents because of (he lower budgets." In fact, Lindsay 
Smith, an independent producer, has signed an agreement with the 
Soviets for The Superpower Mirror, a joint documentary exploring our 
negative screen images of each other. ASFI is not making such deals, 
Gerzon cautions, just facilitating the meetings of Soviets and Ameri- 
cans, who can then decide how to cooperate. Neither is it a distributor, 
though it is helping to introduce Soviet film officials to people in this 
country who can explain how to use our distribution system. 

Some have asked Gerzon if he is being used by the Soviets who want 
U.S. coproduction dollars and revenues from film sales. "I'm 'using' 
them as much as they're 'using' me. I'm letting the democratizing, 
liberalizing elements 'use' me to support their goals," he replies. "For 
this to really work, they must eventually let Soviet people, like writers 
and actors, travel to the U.S. — it can't just be Americans going to them." 

ASFI, 201 10 Rockjport Way. Maliba, CA 90265, tel.: (213) 456-6144 



KR 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 




Filmmakers Nana 
Jorjadze and Irakli 
Kvirikadze with their 
children. 

Photo: Sergei Ivanov 



Nana Jorjadze's Robin- 

sonada, or My English 

Grandfather (1986) 

dramatizes the life of a 

British telegraph operator 

who works in a small 

village in Georgia during 

the Revolutionary period. 

Courtesy International Film 
Exchange 




committee of the Georgian Communist Party, Eduard Shevardnadze, was a 
major force behind the growth of the arts in the republic. Among other 
things, he encouraged Abuladze to write the scenario for Repentance and 
then shoot it. When the film was banned in 1 984, he assured the director that 
its time would come. As the current Soviet foreign minister, Shevardnadze 
has voiced his support for the American-Soviet Film Initiative (see sidebar). 

In short, if we'd been looking, we might have seen the seeds of glasnost. 
"I restructured myself a long time ago," a number of Georgian directors told 
me, not without bravado. But only Georgian director Otar Ioseliani's name 
was well-known in our film circles — and he has worked in France. We are 
making up for lost time, however. Festivals in the U.S. are programming 
more Soviet and, specifically, more Georgian films. The Museum of 
Modern Art in New York City is putting together a retrospective of 
Georgian cinema, slated for a few years hence. And the International Film 
Exchange's "New Voices from the Soviet Cinema" series currently touring 
the country includes two short films made in the directing department of the 
Georgian theater institute and at Gruziafilm: Teimuraz Babluani's Migrat- 
ing Sparrows (1979) and Nana Jorjadze 's Journey to Sopot ( 198 1 ). I haven't 
seen Babluani 's film but many Georgian directors have spoken about it with 
great enthusiasm. Nana Jorjadze's tale of two shysters is more than a look 
at the seamy side of Soviet life; the film exhibits wit and sympathy for the 
friendship of tramps on the road. There are other Georgian women working 
in film to keep in mind as well, like Lana Gogoberidze, director of 
Inten'iews on Personal Matters (1978) and Turnover (1982), of the older 
generation, and Nana Djanelidze, Abuladze's collaborator on Repentance, 
of the younger. 

On one hand, the Gorbachev era has been good for the Soviet avant- 




garde. The new leadership of the Filmmakers Association unbanned uncon- 
ventional works, and the recently-appointed liberals in Goskino have been 
distributing them. But there's some concern about what perestroika will 
mean for difficult films. Under a new system, which will apply to the entire 
Soviet film industry in 1989, each studio must become financially self- 
sufficient. Yet avant-garde films may not get the 14 to 15 million viewers 
needed for financial success — and then who will want, or be able, to fund 
them? 

Kvirikadze, the head of a production unit for young directors at 
Gruziafilm in the process of being established, is not at all nostalgic for the 
old, centralized system, but he has some concerns about the new order. 
"When the government paid us, then the government, in the shape of Mr. 
Pavlionok [of Goskino], was the master and said, to put it crudely, 'I 
dispense the money, so go shoot what I need and want.' [Directors] were 
criticized because of the ideological liberties they took, but not because their 
films weren't box office successes. It was possible to do films for festivals." 
Traditionally, Georgian cinema has been a showcase item for the USSR, 
because of the international prizes won by a number of Georgian films. For 
example, Rekhviashvili's Georgian Chronicle of the Nineteenth Century 
racked up four at Mannheim in 1980, and Kvirikadze won awards at 
Grenoble, Locarno, Gabravo, and Belgrade for various films. Jorjadze's 
Robinsonada, or My English Grandfather ( 1 986), also in IFEX's travelling 
series, received a Camera d'Or for the best first feature at Cannes in 1987. 

Perhaps, at Gruziafilm and elsewhere, more popular films will be able to 
allow production of those that might show a loss. And these days there's talk 
of the Soviet republics subsidizing their own studios, because otherwise 
they won't break even. But I don't have to explain the problem of market- 
place survival to anyone familiar with independent cinema in the U.S. 
That's something we could tell Soviet filmmakers a thing or two about. 

Karen Rosenberg is a writer whose work has appeared in Sight and Sound. 
the Nation, the Boston Globe, and elsewhere. 

© 1988 Karen Rosenberg 



Along with the Georgian film studio Gruziafilm, 
the Leningrad studio where Sergei Ovcharov's 
Believe It or Not (\ 983) was produced is 
considered a place to watch. 

Courtesy International Film Exchange. 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 



FIELD REPORTS 



RADICAL MEDIA REVIEW: 

THIRD WORLD NEWSREEL ENTERS THIRD DECADE 




Coco Fusco 



Activist media wasn't born in the sixties. Its 
antecedents can be found in the work of socially 
conscious documentarians such as John Grierson, 
early Soviet newsreel filmmakers like Dziga 
Vertov, and the Film and Photo League produc- 
tions of the thirties, not to mention in the muckrak- 
ing journalism of the late nineteenth century. 
With the rise of radical politics in the U.S. during 
the sixties — which drew strength from the consti- 
tutional right to free expression and dissent along 
with the growing influence of the mass media in 
political affairs and the increasing availability of 
cheap, portable equipment — an alternative media 
culture arose and has remained firmly entrenched 
ever since. 

At the center of this movement was Newsreel, 
a group of filmmakers who came together in 1 967 
to use cinema as a tool for empowerment and 
social change. Over the last 20 years the member- 
ship and filmmaking styles of the group — re- 
named Third World Newsreel in 1971 — have 
changed, but the spirit and objectives remain the 
same. And after two tumultuous decades, they 
decided it was time to organize an event that 
would remind everyone, including themselves, 
that their survival — especially in light of the slow 



death of other institutions born in the sixties — is 
something to celebrate. The TWN retrospective, 
held in December 1987 at the Collective for Liv- 
ing Cinema in New York City, offered a rich array 
of works that mark the many transformations that 
activist filmmaking has undergone. The program 
might surprise those who have forgotten the 
sources of many of the terms we now take for 
granted and can also serve as a necessary refer- 
ence to ongoing debates over the relationship 
between radical content and form. 

Formed in New York City as a collective with 
socialist ideals, in its first year Newsreel acted as 
a kind of fifth column of Students for a Demo- 
cratic Society, the Black Panthers, and the Young 
Lords, documenting these groups' activities and 
distributing films from revolutionary Cuba and 
Vietnam. Like many other radical political groups 
of the period, they adopted strategies and philoso- 
phies from third world revolutionaries, forming 
guerilla-like "propaganda" units throughout the 
country. The early films were shot in black and 
white, often with hand-held cameras, and they 
exhibit the war footage quality doubtlessly sought 
by the group. Skillfully edited with creative inte- 
gration of popularmusic, they embody the Ameri- 
can version of the camera-as-weapon aesthetic. 
The world view of the early works is one of 
inevitable conflict between disempowered corn- 



Garment workers in a nonunionized shop in 
Christine Choy's 1976 documentary From 
Spikes to Spindles. 

Courtesy Third World Newsreel 



munities and the state. Emphasizing collective 
social goals and materialist political analysis, the 
films repeatedly stress self-determination 
achieved in the face of repressive and excessive 
state power. 

The early shorts Black Panther (1968) and 
Bobby Seale (1969) outline the Black Panther 
Party philosophy against a backdrop of demon- 
strations and Panther military exercises. In both 
films, leaders Seale, Huey Newton, and Eldridge 
Cleaver explain key ideas underlying the Pan- 
thers' activities. They articulate the necessity for 
a revolutionary vanguard and the interconnec- 
tions of a domestic form of colonialism that op- 
presses minority groups in the U.S. and interna- 
tional colonialism that bespeaks the interests of 
the ruling capitalist elite. Speaking from prison, 
Newton and Seale assess incarceration, both 
symbolic and actual, as a condition that unites all 
black people in this country and incisively call for 
a political definition of race as a condition for 
radical social change. 

With El Pueblo Se Levanta (1968) Newsreel 
accomplished a well-rounded portrait of the 
Young Lords Party, a Puerto Rican group in East 
Harlem's El Barrio who used tactics of direct 
action to improve living conditions in their com- 
munity. Here, the party 's philosophy is illustrated 
by documentation of the group's actions — for 
example, the takeover of a local church to use for 
free children's breakfasts and educational pro- 
grams and the organization of marches to protest 
the arrest and mistreatment of one of their mem- 
bers. Party members speak about the internalized 
oppression Puerto Ricans suffer due to the over- 
whelmingly negative images of their culture that 
surround them and the importance of culture and 
education in the development of national pride. 
Interspersed throughout are poetry readings, 
which evoke barrio experiences, and music that 
provides the rhythmic backbone for montage. 

During the late sixties activism within minority 
communities was either represented by the media 
as terrorism or largely ignored, whereas the 
largely white, middle-class student movement 
against U.S. involvement in Vietnam was a media 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



favorite from the onset. Rather than rehashing 
cliched images of protest, Boston Newsreel's 
Boston Draft Resistance Group (1968) provides 
insights into the strategies behind a remarkably 
successful effort to assist over 150 people in 
legally evading the draft every week. The film 
follows the group through planning sessions, sit- 
ins at local draft boards, door-to-door conscious- 
ness-raising, and even as far as Vietnam, where 
they were able to retrieve an American POW. In 
Summer '68 (1969), the Boston group's work is 
set in the larger context of mass demonstration 
around the 1968 Democratic National Conven- 
tion in Chicago. We see them participating in 
producing the left-wing propaganda of that era, 
including an anti-war newspaper edited by Viet- 
nam veterans and a hilarious televised talk show 
with representatives of Newsreel, SDS, and the 
underground newspaper RAT, interrupted by 
unidentified intruders in true sixties "happening" 
style. 

Another film from the same period, Amerika 
(1969), targets the interest groups whose desires 
and frustrations fed into the escalating anti-war 
movement. Interviews with embittered unem- 
ployed or underemployed youth, disenchanted 
GIs returned from Vietnam and black liberation 
movement leaders serve as markers of popular 
sentiment. These are juxtaposed with protest 
marches and startling statistics on U.S. wealth and 
the relative impoverishment of many of its citi- 
zens. The more anecdotal and self-consciously 
ironic Garbage (1968) shows the political antics 
of a group of New York City youths who depos- 
ited large quantities of refuse in front of Lincoln 
Center during a city-wide garbage collectors' 
strike. In the Dada tradition, this act becomes a 
literal metaphor for the decay of city affairs. 

Shown alongside these early Newsreel films 
was a poetic, magnificently edited homage to the 
Vietnamese revolutionary leader, Seventy-Nine 
Springtimes of Ho Chi Minh (1969), by Santiago 
Alvarez, the father of Cuban documentary film. In 
this film radical aesthetics and politics converge 
in an impressionistic biography that traces Ho Chi 
Minh's years as a militant student, his founding 
the Vietnamese Communist Party, and his rise to 
the leadership of the Vietnamese National Libera- 
tion Front. Scores of delicately interwoven 
images accompanied by poems and music present 
him as politician, poet, and revolutionary idol. 

By the early seventies, changes in the direction 
of social activism in the U.S. and internal criticism 
within the Newsreel collective led to a reevalu- 
ation of the organization's philosophy and goals. 
Women and minorities who had been trained by 
Newsreel pressured the group to restructure its 
white, male orientation. After a series of "self- 
criticism" sessions, Newsreel became Third 
World Newsreel, and many of the original News- 
reel members left the collective. The reconstituted 
organization affirmed its commitment to minority 
and women's interests, adopting an approach to 
filmmaking that relied on personal testimony and 




A Move member is 
arrested by SWAT forces 
in Hugh King and Lamar 
Williams' powerful 
documentary Black and 
Blue, the opening film in 
the Third World Newsreel 
retrospective at the Col- 
lective for Living Cinema 
in New York City. 

Courtesy Third World Newsreel 



emphasized traditional documentary forms. 
These changes in formal strategy were most likely 
influenced by the group's increasing dependency 
on government support for producing and distrib- 
uting educational media as well as by its political 
beliefs. Produced during this transition, The 
Women's Film ( 1971 ) provides a sign of this new 
direction. The San Francisco Newsreel Women's 
Caucus made this film, which consists of inter- 
views with women from different ethnic and 
economic backgrounds. Each discusses the frus- 
trations they experience in their work in and 
outside the home and in their marriages. Simple 
and direct, the film implicitly critiques the lack of 
psychological depth and lack of attention to sub- 
jectivity that permeated the male dominated radi- 
calism of the period. 

Some of the most interesting issues discussed 
in The Women's Film are the ways in which 
husbands exert control by policing their wives. 
Third World Newsreel has consistently stressed 
that the policing of specific groups was an impor- 
tant strategy used to suppress radicalism in the 
sixties and continues to be a barometer of state 
attitudes toward dissent. Christine Choy and 
Susan Robeson's Teach Our Children (1972), for 
example, examines the 1971 Attica prisoner re- 
bellion and the official reaction that culminated 
with the death of 31 inmates and guards shot by 
National Guardsmen. Interviewed prisoners dis- 
cuss the inhumane treatment to which they are 
forced to submit, and this material is coupled with 
footage from other prison rebellions of the period. 
A later film by Choy and Cynthia Maurizio, Inside 
Women Inside ( 1 978). portrays the lives of incar- 



cerated women at Riker's Island and in North 
Carolina, showing how they cope with disrupted 
family life and responsibilities and how they are 
forced into virtual slave labor. Once again, the 
work provides insightful political analysis to- 
gether with poignant testimony, stressing the 
reality of the U.S. prison system as a source of 
cheap labor. 

The need for exploitable labor in this country 
has been constant since the end of slavery and 
perhaps has done more to create this country's 
legendary melting pot than any other single phe- 
nomenon. Choy 's From Spikes to Spindles ( 1 976) 
traces the development of New York's China- 
town from the arrival of immigrants from Canton 
and Hong Kong in the mid-nineteenth century to 
contemporary community response, police vio- 
lence, and real estate speculation. From the film 
we learn how economic fluctuations affect racist 
stereotypes and how different industries absorb 
immigrant labor forces as they enter the country. 
Behind the comparison of the colonial situation of 
Hong Kong and the status of minority groups in 
the U.S. are lingering questions about the so- 
called American dream: Can one speak of an 
improved standard of living when young people 
are blackmailed into low-paying jobs and gar- 
ment industry bosses do everything possible to 
maintain sweatshops? Although the filmmaker 
rarely asks such questions of the subjects in the 
documentary, she consistently makes them obvi- 
ous to the audience. 

The Third World Newsreel retrospective's 
most recent films take up issues thai have been 
part of the Newsreel repertoire since its inception, 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



The Suffolk County 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 

presents 



SUFFOLK 

COUNTY 

FILM & VIDEO 

COMPETITION 

Call for Entries 

for 

1988 



= 



Entry Forms: 

SUFFOLK COUNTY 

MOTION PICTURE/TV 

COMMISSION 

Office of Economic Development 

Dennison Building 

Veterans Memorial Highway 

Hauppauge, New York 11788 

516-360-4800 



now presented in a more sharply hewn, investiga- 
tive style, and of course, in color. Namibia: Inde- 
pendence Now! (1985) treats the theme of third 
world struggles for nationalist liberation in rela- 
tion to one of South Africa's most misunderstood 
and exploited neighbors. Shot in Zambia and 
Angola, this portrait of SWAPO shows the infra- 
structure for a new society already in the mak- 
ing — health care units, universal education, 
community projects, and women's organizations. 
Combined with this are astute analyses of how and 
why Namibia's dependence on South Africa pre- 
vents its mineral wealth from becoming the 
source of its own modernization and political 
independence. 

In The Marriage Dinner (1986) Third World 
Newsreel moved from traditional documentary 
forms to docudrama, television style. Produced 
by a training workshop, the story concerns the 
most common dilemma facing some Central 
American refugees in the U.S. — the absence of 
basic civil rights that results from the U.S. 
government's double standard regarding political 
refugees. A young Salvadoran woman, living 
with relatives after being forced to flee her coun- 
try because of political activity, arranges to pay an 
assimilated middle-class Chicano to marry her so 
she can obtain citizenship. The groom arrives for 
a family celebration and is confronted with prob- 
lems that are part of a very distant culture. His 
presence, his ignorance, and his hypocrisy elicit 
bitterness and frustration about the unfulfilled 
promises of U.S. democracy from the bride-to- 
be's Salvadoran uncle. The film suffers from 
stilted scripting and uneven performances, and it 
is particularly awkward to find this family speak- 
ing English for no other reason than to improve 
the chances for broadcasting. Still, the story is 
accurate and important, shedding light on very 
intimate dilemmas that are difficult to document. 

Hugh King and Lamar Williams' Black and 
Blue (1987), the most recent film in the retrospec- 
tive, opened the two-weekend event. An impres- 
sive and frightening account of police abuse of 
people of color in Philadelphia over the last two 
decades, this film improves upon the old News- 
reel style. In its skillful combination of documen- 
tary and television news footage the film creates 
a searing indictment of police brutality and illus- 
trates the long trajectory of community response. 
Beginning with the 1982 African Liberation Day 
March against Genocide at the United Nations 
intercut with the 1985 March against Racism in 
Philadelphia, the film then chronicles episode 
after episode of excessive police violence — from 
the shooting of Winston C X Hood while hand- 
cuffed to raids on Black Panther offices in the 
early seventies to the series of attacks on Move 
Family Africa that ended with the aerial bombing 
of their house, the resulting decimation by fire of 
neighboring houses, and the death of several 
Move members in 1985. 

One of the saddest lessons to be learned from 
Black and Blue is how little has changed since the 



sixties in terms of bettering the conditions for 
most people of color in this country. The words of 
Malcolm X and Huey Newton, both extensively 
quoted in the film, need not be revised to fit the 
present. But another sad observation is that few 
politically astute activists and radical theorists 
have offered new insights into the same old situ- 
ation. Twenty years after the founding of News- 
reel, we live with a diminished sense of expec- 
tancy about cataclysmic social change and con- 
centrate instead on developing strategies for sur- 
vival. 

Third World Newsreel' s adaptation and 
growth during these last two decades reflects 
these larger changes. They have been interested 
less in shocking their spectators than in educating 
them, less concerned with using film to analyze 
the rhetorical power of images and montage than 
with building voices and visions of people who 
are virtually absent from mainstream media. And 
they insist in their unswerving belief in the releva- 
tory power of cinema, as attorney William Kun- 
stler underscored at the opening night screening 
with an anecdote about the camera's function as 
witness. He related a story about a case in which 
he defended several Iroquois Indians who had 
been shot by Pennsylvania policemen. The inci- 
dent occurred across the road from a feature film 
shoot where a camera operator inadvertently 
filmed the police in action. Months later, upon 
hearing about the trial, the camera operator sent 
his cutaways from California at the eleventh hour 
and clinched the defense's case. 

It could be argued that uncompromising faith 
in cinema's "truth" overlooks decades of theoreti- 
cal research on the formal means by which cinema 
constructs ideology. At times, it also runs the risk 
of miming mainstream strategies and, in the proc- 
ess, excluding information that might undermine 
the seemingly self-evident "facts" being ex- 
pounded. But Third World Newsreel operates in a 
self-consciously reactive manner, as an antidote 
to the appalling lacunae and ideological narrow- 
ness of contemporary mainstream media. And, in 
light of the circumscribed information we receive 
about what happens in the U.S. and about the 
effects of our foreign policy, Third World 
Newsreel' s radically different visions are as cru- 
cial as they are revealing. 



Coco Fusco is the editor o/Reviewing Histories: 
Selections from New Latin American Cinema, a 
recently released collection of essays published 
by Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buf- 
falo. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL: 

CHICAGO'S COMMUNITY TELEVISION NETWORK 




Young videomakers from Latino Youth and 
the Youth Communications program tape 
the first segment of a Hard Cover program 
on teenage lifestyles. 

Photo: John Caldwell 



Barbara Tuss 



For the past 13 years, the Community Television 
Network of Chicago has been providing video 
training to low income and minority youth in three 
Chicago neighborhoods: Pilsen, the heart of the 
Mexican community; Austin, a primarily black 
neighborhood; and Uptown, a community with a 
mix of black, Hispanic, Appalachian, and, more 
recently, Asian residents. Founded in 1974 by 
Denise Zaccardi, a former reading teacher at an 
alternative high school, the project grew out of her 
efforts to find ways to motivate her students. 

Zaccardi 's decided to use video to encourage 
the students to explore and document their neigh- 
borhoods and thus probe the strengths, problems, 
and issues of their communities. The videotapes 
the students created described a very different 
picture of their world than that which they saw on 
the local news. Through their work with CTVN, 
the students began to grapple with questions of 
their own identities and cultural heritage, as well 
as their neighborhoods' place within the larger 
city. Samples of early CTVN work include tapes 
like The Latin Queens, which consists of inter- 
views with teenage women about their lives as 
gang members; Keep County Open, a documen- 
tary on the struggle to keep Cook County Hospital 
open; and Off the Wall, an exploration of neigh- 
borhood graffiti. Starting with the Neighborhood 
Program, the name given to Zaccardi's original 
project, CTVN has expanded to include Video 
Services, a production company that provides 
advanced training seminars in addition to the 
hands-on experience of videomaking. And Video 
Services' offshoot, the Grassroots Production 



Fund, now produces tapes for community organi- 
zations that could not otherwise afford them, 
thanks to a grant from the Mac Arthur Foundation. 

"My family didn't expect much from me, 
stated Javier Vargas, one of two students honored 
for outstanding achievement at a CTVN anniver- 
sary celebration last fall. "My brothers dropped 
out of school, but I told myself I'm going to 
graduate." Vargas is the sixth of seven children 
and the first person in his family to graduate from 
high school. He attended Roberto Clemente High 
School, which has a dropout rate of around 70 
percent, and is currently a student in the television 
program at Columbia College in Chicago. He is 
also employed as a studio supervisor for the Chi- 
cago Cable Access Corporation. In pursuing his 
interest in video, Vargas confronted the tension 
and dilemmas of moving outside his neighbor- 
hood. "At first when I went to college, I used to be 
ashamed to say where I came from, but as I get 
older I understand more. Your surroundings make 
you get an attitude where you don't think you can 
make it. But being a minority has made me a 
stronger person. And Community Television has 
given me an opportunity." 

Golden Watkins, who also was honored for 
outstanding achievement this past fall, agrees that 
the opportunity provided by CTVN has made a 
significant difference in his life. "If I hadn't gotten 
involved with CTVN, I'd probably just have a no 
skills job. It's about a lot of dreams I have — being 
financially stable, earning a good living. As a little 
kid I lived in the projects, and it was terrifying." 
Watkins enrolled in a Neighborhood Program 
summer production workshop in 1984 that paid 
students a stipend with funds provided by the 
Mayor's Office of Employment and Training. 



Being able to earn some money, even a small 
amount, made it possible for Watkins to partici- 
pate in the program. Both Watkins and Vargas 
have seen other students leave the program to look 
for paying jobs at times when there were no funds 
to pay stipends. 

While many of their peers rarely leave their 
neighborhoods, both Vargas and Watkins have 
found themselves in unique situations as a result 
of their work with CTVN. Vargas worked on the 
tape. Running with the Mayor, a documentation of 
Harold Washington's 1983 campaign. He vividly 
recounts the experience: "It's something I won't 
forget. Washington started as an underdog, and 
then we saw the momentum growing. We'd get 
his schedule and start at eight in the morning and 
work all day. It was a challenge to stay one step 
ahead of him. We'd set up alongside all the 
professional crews. We'd also go places where no 
other media would go, like small community 
groups on the South Side. After a while he got to 
know who we were and would talk to us." Wat- 
kins' work with Video Services has led to an offer 
to produce a public service announcement for the 
Little City Foundation and the NBA Players 
Association. He also worked on a Video Services 
crew which taped a speech given by James Bald- 
win at a forum sponsored by Friends of the Chi- 
cago Public Library. 

The latest addition to the CTVN family of 
programs is Hard Cover, a bi-weekly teen news 
program jointly produced by CTVN and Youth 
Communications, another Chicago-based service 
agency. CTVN provides a crew from its Neigh- 
borhood Program housed at Latino Youth, an 
alternative high school, and tapes the shows at the 
Cable Access studios. Each Hard Cover features 
a news segment and a panel discussion on various 
topics such as divorce and stepparents, homeless 
teens, and sexuality. As students drifted into the 
studio for a recent taping of Hard Cover, instruc- 
tors Kevin Doyle and Sasha Sumner made crew 
assignments. There was an orderly chaos to the 
scene as the students bantered and teased, posi- 
tioned cameras, ran cable, and connected mics. 
The topic for the day was teen parents, but today's 
guests — mother, father, and baby — were late. 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 



As they waited, several students spoke em- 
phatically of their alienation from the public 
school system. "Nobody teaches you anything 
there," stated Juan Plaza with exasperation. 
"Juarez is so big and crowded and the gangs are 
bad. You have no identity there." Jaime Soto 
picked up on the conversation: "There were so 
many people. I was nothing. At Latino Youth 
there is student involvement. Going there builds 
your self-esteem." CTVN asked Latino Youth to 
house one of its Neighborhood Programs specifi- 
cally because of the school's politically conscious 
approach to educating city teens. The school 
program addresses issues of racism, sexism, and 
economic discrimination, as well as preparing 
students to obtain GED certificates, acquire job 
skills, or go on to college. The video course serves 
both as a means to teach job skills and as an outlet 
to explore issues and express ideas. Although 
Soto does not think he will work professionally in 
video, he hopes to be a teacher and use video with 
his students. "I like the activity, the involvement," 
he said. Josie Rubio, however, wants to be a 
camera operator for a television station. "This is 
the best experience I could get, working in the 
studio on Hard Cover" she reasoned. The guests 
for the program finally arrived and despite the fact 
that the baby grabbed the mics for most of the 
program, this group of teens had pulled it off. 
They had a 30-minute broadcast program ready to 
go- 



In 1985 CTVN initiated Video Services, a 
series of advanced production seminars for gradu- 
ates of the Neighborhood Program. Video Ser- 
vices functions as an income generating enter- 
prise for CTVN that contracts to do tapes, pays 
students for their work on the projects, and refers 
students for paying jobs on industrial and com- 
mercial projects. The development of the students 
is easy to see as they make the jump from the 
Neighborhood Program to Video Services. The 
six students in a recent session of seminars had a 
more defined sense of what they wanted to do. 
When their instructor Judy Hoffman asked them 
what they personally wanted from their Video 
Services experience, they were quick to respond. 
One wanted to work on camera, another to de- 
velop her editing skills, a third was interested in 
focusing on scriptwriting. 

Over a 1 to 1 2 week period the group will have 
sessions with camera people, sound recordists, 
editors, producers, and local news reporters. The 
professionals brought in for the seminars are 
Chicago-based film- and videomakers who work 
on features, documentaries, industrials, and com- 
mercials. The professionals also may work along- 
side the students producing a videotape con- 
tracted to Video Services, such as the recently 
released AIDS: Questions and Answers, commis- 
sioned by Cermak Hospital of Cook County Jail. 
Or they may hire Video Services trainees to 
freelance as crew for their own productions. This 



close contact with working professionals gives 
the students a real taste of the business and pro- 
vides mentors for teens who have few connections 
for establishing such relationships. 

"When I started CTVN, I wanted to make a 
difference," stated Zaccardi. "With some of our 
students who stay with us we know we are making 
an impact. But we've never had the funds to do 
much follow up. Every dollar we raise is needed 
to fund the programs." Even without statistically 
charting the ins and outs of the students who've 
participated in CTVN, it's clear that the organiza- 
tion is succeeding. It's dealing with the negative 
attitudes and lack of opportunities that confront 
inner city teens. CTVN's success and survival is 
a tribute to its staff, teachers, and students and a 
clear indictment of a society in which the words 
"equal opportunity" still have a hollow ring. 

Community Television Network can be contacted at 
1105 W. Lawrence Ave., Room 210, Chicago, IL 
60640, 312/728-4030. 



Barbara Tuss is coordinator of Instructional 
Media at the National College of Education in 
Evanston, Illinois. 



CODE 16 

16 MM EDGE NUMBERING 

* Codes Every 16 Frames 

* Prints on All 16 MM Stock Including Polyester 

* Clearest, Easiest to Read Numerals Anywhere 

* Your Choice of Four Colors 

Lowest Prices Anywhere 

i,oooft $ 8.00 

Polyester Track 

1,000 ft $10.00 



Let CODE 16 Sync up your dailies — 
low rates — call for information 

For any size job call 496-1118 

Same day service— Weekends & rush hours possible 

21 W. 86 ,h St. 
Monday - Friday 10-5 




Video Cassette Duplicatic 



16mm Editing Roon 
nterlock Screening Roorr 



GUARANTEED FOR MASTERING 



NEW, MAJOR BRAND VIDEO CASSETTES 
AT DISCOUNT PRICES 



Scotch 'n Kodak 

AFTER HOURS/ 

'rL*/ '■.Tor f ViDfOTAPt AUDIO !APf i E AOl O & Si.PPuf S 

RAFIK 475-7884 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



| FESTIVALS 

BRITISH INTELLIGENCE: 

THE NATIONAL FESTIVAL OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 




Steve Hawley's Trout Descending a Stair- 
case was one of the tapes programmed by 
the staff of Independent Media, a British 
video journal and sponsor of the National 
Independent Video Festival. 

Courtesy the Media Centre 



Mary Downes 



Escape from London into England's green and 
pleasant "Silicon Valley," where mock Georgian 
and Victorian dwellings house upwardly mobile 
computer programmers. Travel into the woody 
heart of Berkshire where you will find Bracknell. 
Drive further still into the tranquil hills, and there 
you will discover Southill Park, once an aristo- 
cratic mansion, now a thriving arts center with a 
cinema, theater, exhibition space, and Media 
Centre. It was to these genteel surroundings that 
video artists, teachers, community workers, inde- 
pendent videomakers, scribes, and theorists made 
their annual pilgrimage last November to attend 
the Eighth National Festival of Independent 
Video, the most resilient event to emerge from the 
burgeoningBritish video culture of the late seven- 
ties, the era when the magazine Independent 
Video (now Independent Media), the festival's 
sponsor, was also conceived. 

Brooding over proceedings this year was an 
automated video installation linking a camera to a 
computer that spewed out continuous prints of the 
gathering throng below. It was an interesting 
enough toy, with all the visual qualities of a 
quadratic equation, but, more significantly, it 
created an impression of high-tech artistry. Ever 



since George Orwell wrote 1984, the TV screen 
has had a very special place in our imagination 
and fears. Lining the walls with images of them at 
a festival that also draws work from the grossly 
under-funded community sector may not be en- 
tirely appropriate, but it beats potted palms. Re- 
corded for posterity as black and white computer 
printouts, the predominantly young, lefty audi- 
ence with a specialized interest in the independent 
sector milled affably with humble ambassadors 
from the powers that be — the Arts Council of 
Great Britain, the British Film Institute, and 
Channel Four. Not so much a gathering of the rich 
and famous but more a serious reappraisal of 
work-in-progress by and for the workers, the 
festival got off to an interesting start. 

The short roots of the festival reach back to the 
heydays of the Metropolitan Councils (recently 
abolished by Thatcher) when "alternative arts" 
flourished under radical new policies: video 
workshops proliferated, training projects 
evolved, and new technology flooded the mar- 
kets. Just as young people learned how to make 
their own "scratch" tapes by copying and repeat- 
ing TV images with their consumer-grade ma- 
chines at home, so this growth was nurtured by 
television — Channel Four. Individuals or com- 
munities underserved by TV were given access to 
money, equipment, and air time. Black, women's. 



and community workshops were established to 
fulfill a broad mandate; training and production 
were integrated and educational activities were 
encouraged. Media literacy, seen as necessary to 
improving the representation of disenfranchised 
groups, became a principle of the era. 

Established in optimism and struggling 
through unmitigated assaults upon the arts — 
when even the National Theatre and the Royal 
Shakespeare Company are suffering — the Brack- 
nell festival has survived on a farcically low 
budget from the British Film Institute and Chan- 
nel Four. But to understand its programming one 
important distinction must be made. In British 
broadcasting, "independent" is used generically 
to describe anything non-BBC, from Putnam's 
Enigma Productions to small workshops operat- 
ing on a shoestring. In the context of Bracknell, 
the term refers specifically to noncommercial 
work from the highly political grant-aided (state 
subsidized) sector — a broad constituency incor- 
porating VHS tapes made by community groups, 
highly sophisticated documentaries and dramas, 
as well as formally innovative video art. Tapes 
may be commissioned or acquired by Channel 
Four, but the largest proportion is nonbroadcast 
work with a definite socio-political function. So, 
within this narrower definition of independent 
there is still a polarization between art-product 
and social-process. Where the two converge, the 
principles of the independent video movement are 
fulfilled, but it is the tension and contrasts be- 
tween them which make the festival different 
from most showcase, talent-spotting, networking 
events. 

If independent video is understood as a general 
description of anything noncommercial, little 
wonder that controversy has always plagued its 
programming. Exacerbated by financial difficul- 
ties, the problems become more acute. All selec- 
tion policies previously employed for the festi- 
val — selections by individuals, b\ panels, accord- 
ing to themes — failed to placate the critical, elic- 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



FINE EDITING ON 3 A" VIDEO 




$25/ hr without editor 
$35/ hr with editor 



Also available: 

A/B Roll with TBC, special effects 
generator, character generator 
VHS- 3 /„" transfers. 



CREATIVE VISUAL MEDIA, INC. 

Fort Lee, N.J. 

(just across GW Bridge) 

Tel: (201) 585-1847 



LEARN 

VIDEO 

EDITING 

} A " Editing Classes include: 
VIDEO EDITING 

* 

AUDIO MIXING 

* 

TROUBLESHOOTING 

* 

MAX 4 TO A CLASS 

16HR SINGLE WEEKEND 

* 

FREE REFRESHER CLASS 

* 

DYNAMITE TEACHERS 

For more info call Debbie or David 

29th STREET 
VIDEO, Inc. 

(212)594-7530 




The history of violence 
against the mentally 
handicapped is 
explored in Simon 
Robertshaw's 
impressionistic 
Biometrika, which was 
screened at the 1987 
National Festival of 
Independent Video. 
Robertshaw won the 
student award at 
Bracknell the previous 
year. 

Courtesy the Media Centre 



iting charges of racism, sexism, or elitism. Last 
year, whispers of discontent grew into a loud 
chorus protesting the predominantly white, male 
selection of work on show. Programs ended in 
arguments, people stormed out, and the weekend 
deflated into pessimism. 

This year, magazines with particular cultural or 
political demarcations were delegated to program 
the event. The black London paper The Voice and 
the feminist monthly Spare Rib ensured represen- 
tation for blacks and women, while New Society, 
a social issue magazine, and Performance, an arts 
publication, covered community issues and video 
art respectively. Other permutations on these 
themes expanded the selection to a total of 1 1 
programs staggered over the weekend. All repre- 
sentatives of magazines were curiously twinned 
with veterans of the independent video scene to 
make their selections. As a result, programming 
towed the sector line this year at the expense of 
controversy, but selections still reflected a healthy 
range of interests and stylistic preferences. Offen- 
sive tapes were notable for their absence as were 
the traditional rows, conspiratorial gatherings, 
protests at the bar, whining in the food queues, and 
complaining in the foyers. In retrospect, a little 
provocation may not have been a bad thing, if only 
to liven things up and allay accusations of compla- 
cency. 

Put in a dark room and asked to guess which 
program was selected by which magazine, I 
would have difficulties. The Spare Rib and New 
Society selections clearly prioritized issues over 
production values. Typical of this dilemma was 
The English Estate, by the Community Arts 
Workshop, a tape about a housing estate in Roch- 
dale produced by young, unskilled people with 
some professional help. Proving that a language 
unknown cannot be subverted, it was difficult to 
hear, see, or concentrate on an unstable, under- 
edited tape, despite its laudable intent to expose 
the flip side of Thatcher's new affluence. Broadly 
speaking, this tape represents the community- 
process extreme of the festival. The Voice pro- 
gram, on the other hand, offered a compelling and 



varied selection with consistently high produc- 
tion standards. Both Plutonium Blonde, by Sandra 
Lahire, and Isaac Julien's This Is Not an AIDS 
Advertisement (a Sankofa workshop production) 
dealt with important social issues, using impres- 
sionistic, elegiac styles. Julien's sensual mix was 
particularly striking for its assertion of sexual 
desire over fear and guilt. An alternative to con- 
ventional AIDS hysteria, the tape presents an 
imaginative plea for compassion and sexual 
choice. 

This year, no less than others, the festival 
exhibited an overriding preoccupation with film 
and television conventions — breaking with them, 
challenging them, parodying them. If the inde- 
pendent sector is united by any theme, it must be 
this. Particularly worrying, however, is that social 
concerns and authentic drama get buried beneath 
a welter of self-conscious interest in form and 
process. In this complex imitation game an alter- 
native code of conventions is emerging, with an 
orthodoxy and hallowed critical sanctuary of its 
own. For all that, George Barber's Taxi Driver II 
and Trout Descending a Staircase, by Steve 
Hawley, toy with TV and fine art conventions 
using enough irreverent wit and invention to resist 
dependable formulas. And the quality of compas- 
sion infuses every delicately synchronized image 
in Biometrika, a deeply moving and disturbing 
tape by Simon Robertshaw, the winner of last 
year's Bracknell student award. Driven not by 
technical exhibitionism but by outrage, Robert- 
shaw crafts an oblique moral narrative delineating 
the sad history of violence against the mentally 
handicapped. Erasing the fine line between legal 
sterilization and selective breeding, the tape takes 
recent court decision to their logical conclusions 
and establishes parallels — perhaps a little too 
bluntly at times — with the programs of the Nazis 
and the Eugenics Society. Beautifully impres- 
sionistic yet stridently political, this was easily the 
most interesting domestically-produced tape at 
the festival. 

More engrossing by far, the international pro- 
grams (the first to be included in the festival) from 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



Catalonia, France, and New York elicited some 
unsettling comparisons with our native offerings. 
Disproportionate concentration upon the visual in 
the foreign language tapes left striking impres- 
sions that are often difficult to translate or contrast 
with cultural counterparts. Absent were the docu- 
mentaries and dramas which give shape and social 
delineation to a wash of beautiful imagery. For 
obvious reasons, the New York selection was 
more easily identifiable to British audiences. 
Describing pantomime-bitch Alexis Carrington 
as "a designer castrating machine," Joan Brader- 
man, maker and unquestionable star of Joan Does 
Dynasty, presents a relentless diatribe on the tyr- 
anny and idiocy of the American soap. She trans- 
lates the language of semiotics (not usually en- 
joyed for its hilarity) into cognoscenti-slang (e.g., 
"geriatric macho") and racy, spit-fire irony befit- 
ting the queen of camp herself. Performing her 
critique like an electronic circus act, Braderman 
incriminates the whole vicious circle from pro- 
ducers and stars to viewers and alternative com- 
mentators. Unlike most self-appointed provo- 
cateurs in the deconstruction business, she is 
entertaining, provocative, and utterly convincing. 
Another tape from the U.S. that concentrated on 
language and the interplay of preconceived no- 
tions and artifice. Meet the People, by Shelly 
Silver, provided a funny, touching, and restrained 
indictment of the American Dream and the folly 
of human fantasy. 

In part, the last day of the festival, Sunday, was 
dedicated to talk, which like Sunday Mass tends to 
be long, boring, and repetitive but still a great 
ritual. Bemoaning the funding crisis, seeking 
definitive answers to ubiquitous questions (What 
is video art? Who controls the means of produc- 
tion?), or attacking easy scapegoats (TV compa- 
nies, funding entities), words bounced around like 
boomerangs. If few conclusions were reached in 
these discussions, at least they consolidated dis- 
satisfactions and general theoretical positions. 
Particularly amusing for its wet, liberal guilt was 
a paper on "Men and Video," written for a work- 
shop of the same name, which flagellated the most 
self-loathing casualties of gender politics. Such 
absurdities aside, it's fair to report that most 
people left Southill Park this year with more 
questions than answers, but feeling optimistic, 
inspired, and determined. 



Mary Downes writes features and television re- 
views for City Limits in London, as well as video 
reviews for Independent Media 



Fully equipped 16 mm editing facilities 




^ 


















r> 












Safe, convenient location 24 hour access Short & long term rentals 


New York's Only Up-the-Block, 
Round-the Clock Editing Facilities 


21 WEST 86th STREET, NYC 212-580-2075 



THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE 
OF B'NAI B'RITH 

Wants to Acquire for Distribution 
FILMS, VIDEO, FILMSTRIPS 

on Human Relations Subjects 

PRODUCERS PLEASE CONTACT: 

Director, Television, Radio, Film Dept. 
Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith 

823 United Nations Plaza 
New York, N.Y. 10017 
(212) 490-2525 - 



Our 75th Year 




19 13-19 



SENIMHEISER 




loiuel 





FOStGX 

audio technica 



ICDI—I 



SYNC RECORDERS 



Conversions by THE FILM GROUP 



dbx" 



JAC 



adit 

EDITORS 
ARPENTER(CINE) 



VUII3C P0 B OX 1321 
MVI^E MEADVILLE. PA 16335-0821 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



TEXT AND TUBE: 

LA SEMAINE INTERNATIONALE DE VIDEO 



Tom Borrup 



The first things an American might notice about 
Switzerland are that it's tidy and efficient. The 
trains — as well as everything else — run precisely 
on time, people speak two if not three languages, 
and a Big Mac costs 4.40 Swiss Francs. In No- 
vember 1987 that's the equivalent of $3.26 U.S. It 
is within this milieu that the Seconde Semaine 
Internationale de Video (Second International 
Video Week) was held in Geneva, from Novem- 
ber 16 to 21. The first such event in 1985 was 
equally as ambitious and impressive — and as 
equally unknown in "The New World." 

The week-long festival was sponsored and 
hosted by the St. Gervais Maison des Jeunes et de 
la Culture (House of Youth and Culture) and took 
place in their fabulous 10-story multi-disciplinary 
arts center, which is supported by the city and 
houses several theaters, numerous areas for video, 
dance, photography programs, as well as eating, 
socializing, and other activities. The 200 people 
who came to screenings had the option of seeing 
every tape on monitors or projected. Spaces were 
comfortable and quiet, and the technical quality of 
the presentations was superb. 

The 1987 Semaine wasthematically structured 
to consider the topic "writing and video" — not 
writing about video, but as in "Is video a form of 
writing?" The week began with a two-day semi- 
nar led by Raymond Bellour and Philippe Dubois, 
who defined relationships between writing and 
video based on their research and on the video- 
tapes of Jacques Louis Nyst and Gary Hill. In 
conjunction with the event, five installation 
works — by Gerd Belz, Silvie and Cherif De- 
fraoui, Hill, Nyst, and Marcel Odenbach — 
opened for a two week run. Three European critics 
selected work that illustrates the week's theme, 
and retrospectives of works by Hill and Odenbach 
were mounted. In addition, the organizers pro- 
duced a glossy, 150-page catalogue that included 
critical essays and descriptions of tapes. 

The centerpiece of the Semaine, however, was 
a competition which drew nearly 400 entries from 
20 countries. Organizers selected 10 percent of 
these for screening. Each artist whose work was 
shown received a fee of 100 Swiss Francs and 
review by a jury of five, chaired by Thomas 
Pfister, video and film curator at the Kunst Mu- 
seum in Berne, which also included Andree 
Duchaine from Montreal, Wolfgang Preikschat 
from West Germany, Georges Rey from Lyon, 
and Anna Ridley from London. Prizes of 1 ,500 SF 
went to Jeanne C. Finley (USA) for Common 
Mistakes (1986) and Daniel Reeves (USA) for 
Ganapati—A Spirit in the Bush ( 1 986 ). One 4,000 
SF prize went to a young artist, Dennis Dya 



(Canada), for Oh Nothing (1987), and the Grand 
Prix de la Ville de Geneve of 10,000 SF was 
awarded to Alexander Hahn (Switzerland) for 
Viewers of Optics (1987). Prize winning works 
are also purchased for the collection of the spon- 
soring St. Gervais Maison des Jeunes et de la 
Culture. 

The Semaine compared favorably in scope and 
quality to any video festival in the U.S., with the 
exception that many of the North American works 
have previously been screened widely. The long 
list of supporters of the event — which included a 
number of government agencies, Sony-Geneve, 
Swissair, Gestronic S.A., and Migros, the giant 
Swiss food and banking cooperative — would 
make any U.S. arts organization jealous. And, 
given the scenic environment, financial support, 
well-orchestrated participation of curators, crit- 
ics, and artists from Western Europe and French- 
speaking North America, the video week has a 
bright future. 

The English-speaking attendees, however, 
would have fit into a standard-sized European car. 
Hopefully, for future Semaines (held every other 
year), some of the language boundaries will be 
overcome and the event will gain the visibility and 
participation it deserves from the English-speak- 
ing world. 

Tom Borrup is the executive director of Interme- 
dia Arts of Minnesota, a media arts center in 
Minneapolis. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Kathryn Bowser. Listings 
do not constitute an endorsement & 
since some details change faster 
than we do, we recommend that you 
contact the festival for further infor- 
mation before sending prints or 
tapes. If your experience differs from 
our account, please let us know so we 
can improve our reliability. 



DOMESTIC 

Jewish Film Festival: Independent Filmmakers 
Looking at Ourselves. July, CA. Each summer this 
San Francisco fest showcases new U.S. ind. Jewish 
cinema along w/ selection of foreign films w/ Jewish 
themes. Now in 8th yr, it accepts dramatic, doc, experi- 
mental & animated films on Jewish history, culture & 
identity. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: April 15.. 



Contact: Deborah Kaufman, Jewish Film Festival, 
2600 Tenth St., Berkeley, CA 94710; (415) 548-0556. 

Suffolk County Film & Video Competition, June, 
NY. 5th annual comp for film/video in cats: arts & 
entertainment, sales & marketing, doc & student. En- 
tries under 60 min., completed aft. Apr. 1980. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, S 8, 3/4", 1/2". Fees (per cat.): $50 prof., 
$25 student. Deadline: May 1. Contact: Suffolk County 
Motion Picture & TV Committee, Dennison Bldg, 1 1th 
fl., Veteran's Memorial Hwy, Hauppauge. NY 11788; 
(516) 360-4800. 

United States Student Film & Video Festival. April 
28-May 1, UT. College & university filmmakers are 
invited to participate in this 2nd annual fest held at 
University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Program incl. 
screenings of student works, film & video competition, 
seminars & workshops. Formats: 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", 
Beta, 8mm video. Cats: narrative, experimental & doc 
(film); narrative, experimental, doc & music (video). 
Awards incl. cash, trophies & film & video postproduc- 
tion services. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: Mar. 15. Con- 
tact Nancy R. Green, festival coordinator. Film Front, 
206 Performing Arts Bldg., University of Utah, Salt 
Lake City, UT 84112; (801) 328-3646/521-8513. 



FOREIGN 



Edinburgh International Film Festival, August, 
Scotland. Celebrating 42nd yr, this 2-week noncom- 
petitive fest, which last yr featured 155 feature, doc. & 
short films from 21 countries, is attended by large no. of 
filmmakers, critics & fest directors. Last yr's program 
incl. over 15 films by U.S. independent filmmakers, to 
whom fest is very receptive. Fest is part of larger int'l 
arts festival of exhibitions & performances. Press cov- 
erage is extensive & numerous workshops & confer- 
ences are part of the fest's texture. Films must have been 
completed in previous yr. Formats: 35mm, 16mm; 
preview on cassette. Deadline: mid-May. Contact: Jim 
Hickey, director, Edinburgh International Film Festi- 
val, Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Rd., Edinburgh EH3 9BZ. 
Scotland; tel: 031-228-6382, telex: 72165. 

Festival of Film Consecrated to Art, October, 
France. 2nd yr of fest highlighting films on contempo- 
rary plastic arts, sponsored by & held at Nat'l Museum 
of Modern Art. Sections incl. Above Competition 
(genesis of film on art), In Competition (the studio & the 
process of creation) & In Competition (confrontations). 
Films should have been completed in previous 7 yrs. 
Top prize: 30,000FF, 2nd prize: 15.000FF; remaining 
awards get honorable mention & offer of purchase. 
Shorts accepted. No entry fee. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
3/4"; preview on cassette. Deadline: June 15. Contact: 
Festival du Film sur 1'Art, Les Ateliers. Cinema du 
Musee, Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, 75191 Paris Cedex 04, France. 

Locarno International Film Festival. August 4-14, 
Switzerland. W/ stated commitment to & focus on new 
directors w/ 1st or 2nd features, this competitive feature 
film fest, now 41 yrs old, is meeting point for film- 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



makers from around world. Last yr's edition saw 8 first 
features out of 18 films in competition & many films 
received int'l premieres here. Many screenings held in 
the town's central Piazza Grande, where audiences can 
reach 6,000. Total program incl. over 1 00 films & 1 ,800 
int'l guest (incl. 400 journalists), cinema & TV special- 
ists attend. Past U.S. ind. prize winners have incl. 
Robert Gardner, Jim Jarmusch & Gregg Araki. Sec- 
tions incl. int'l competition for fiction films by new 
directors & recently founded nat'l film industries; his- 
torical section designed to provide contributions to 
history of cinema, section dedicated to full-length fic- 
tion films produced for TV (w/ separate regulations, 
competition & int'l jury), info sections & film market. 
Films should be subtitled in French (although excep- 
tions may be made). Competition open to eligible films 
( no educational, scientific or advertising) over 60 mins, 
completed in previous 1 2 mos; must be Swiss premieres 
that have not won prizes at other int'l festivals recog- 
nized by FIAPF. Preference given to world premieres & 
films not yet submitted to other major Euro int'l festi- 
vals. Prizes incl. Golden Leopard (Festival Grand 
Prize) & City of Locarno Grand Prize (10.000SF) to 
best film. Silver Leopard (2nd prize), Awards Commit- 
tee Grand Prize & City of Locarno 2nd Prize (5,000SF) 
to 2nd best film; Bronze Leopards & cash prizes to 3rd 
& 4th place winners; honorable mention & technical 
prizes. Directors from other fests attend, incl. Berlin, 
Nyon, Hof, Mannheim, San Francisco, Sydney, Mel- 
bourne, Hong Kong & Istanbul. Market last yr screen- 
ed over 50 films for 400 members of the Swiss industry. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 

This yr director David Streiff will visit New York at 
end of May & make selections at FIVF's offices. For 
info & appl, send SASE or contact Kathryn Bowser, 
FIVF Festival Bureau, 625 Broadway, 9th Fl., New 
York, NY 10012, (212) 473-3400. Deadline: May 15. 
Festival address: Festival Intemazionale del Film Lo- 
carno, Via della Posta 6, CH-6600 Locarno, Switzer- 
land; tel: 093-310232; telex: 846 565 FIFL. 

Turin International Youth Film Festival. Oct. 13- 
21, Italy. New directors & established ind. filmmakers 
from N. America, Europe, Asia & Africa find meeting 
ground at this well-organized & stimulating northern 
Italian fest, dedicated to themes of youth & innovations 
in film vocabulary. Last yr, over 30 U.S. independent 
directors attended w/ their films & videos. Audiences, 
estimated at over 65,000, incl. enthusiastic local group 
of film buffs & invitees who attend as festival guests. 
Competitive feature & short film sections. The Open 
Space section (in which entrants must be under 30 yrs 
old (features video, super 8 & shorts out of competition; 
last yr over 350 programs screened in this section. 
Feature films in competition vie for 3 awards: best film, 
jury award & actor/actress; nightly screenings are SRO. 
Awards to best short & best feature. Certain selected 
films & videos shown in int'l forum sections. Retro- 
spective section focuses on a particular national cinema 
each yr: last yr's was Soviet Cinema of the '60s; this yr 
will showcase Polish Cinema of the '60s. Fest provides 
round trip airfare, hotel & meals for all filmmakers in 
feature competitive section; others receive hospitality. 
Round-trip shipping charges covered. Each film has 
press conference. Post-screening discussions w/ film- 
makers are lively. Entries should not have been released 
in Italy. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, super 8, 3/4", 1/2" & 
Beta. Entry fee: S10 features, $5 shorts. Deadline: 
through July 10, but Michael Solomon, test's NY rep, 
advises entrants to apply early. Contact: Michael Solo- 
mon, c/o FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th fl.. New York, NY 
10012; (212) 473-3400 or (212) 475-2237. 



FOXILORBER mi 

ASSOCIATES, INC.I=! 

is acquiring 

independent features 

and 

documentaries 

for all markets and territories 

Contact: Trea Hoving 
Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc. 

432 Park Avenue South, Suite 705, New York, NY 10016 
Telephone: (212) 686-6777 Telex: 425 730 FOX LOR FAX: 212-685-2625 



IMAGE FILM/VIDEO CENTER 

Presents the 

12TH ATLANTA FILM & 
VIDEO FESTIVAL 

And 

National Alliance of Media Arts 

Centers (NAMAC) Conference 

on Media Arts Exhibition 

MAY 18-22, 1988 • ATLANTA, GEORGIA 

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT IMAGE .75 BENNETT ST., SUITE M-l 
ATLANTA, GA 30309 • (404) 3524225 




MOBILE 

COURIERS & TRUCKS 




every* 



Beta ii taKes- 



peco'< 



. Stud* 1 „ . - 

. B e<a-; c ; dCre * 



. E*P e ' 



st udio 



NEW YORK'S LEADING 
FILM INDUSTRY 
MESSENGER SERVICE 
est. 1970 



Speed is our specialty 
we deliver anything 
anywhere. . . 

751-7765 
247-7400 



•■<%***■ 



le«e p ! .,tion 



&P os> 




Contact: Matt Clarke 
or Jeff Byrd 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 




Renee Tajima 



Filmmaker Sam Pollard is now in production with 
the film A Portrait of Max, a documentary on the 
legendary jazz percussionist/composer Max 
Roach. Unwilling to be limited as a musician in a 
specific musical category, Roach is an artist in 
constant search of new horizons. A Portrait of 
Max will illustrate his process as he works on a 
composition for a theatrical production of Shake- 
speare's A Midsummer' s Night Dream, as a per- 
former with Japanese traditional musicians, and 
as a featured soloist and composer with the Milan 
Symphony Orchestra. The film will capture the 
artist in various settings — at home, performing in 
a concert hall, and in the recording studio. And it 
will debunk the myth of the jazz musician as a 
"limited" artist — a totally, spontaneous, music- 
of-the-moment individual who works with no 
particular structure — which has long been used to 
minimize the rigor and significance of jazz. The 
film, produced by Dolores Elliott with executive 
producer St. Clair Bourne, is scheduled to be 
completed in July 1988. A Portrait of Max: The 
Center for the Study of Music on Society, 535 W. 
1 10th St., New York, NY 10025; (212) 222-0438; 
(914)664-2430. 

Writer Studs Terkel called it "a damn good 
film." Long Journey Home is a documentary 
about migration and the dilemma of people torn 
between economic imperatives and their desire to 



maintain a home. Directed by Elizabeth Barret, 
with Herb E. Smith, the film is the second install- 
ment of the History of Appalachia film series, 
produced by the Kentucky-based media arts cen- 
ter Appalshop. In it, history is not espoused by 
experts and scholars, but told by ordinary people, 
"history-tellers," who are both current and former 
residents of the region. They include Anndrena 
Belcher, now a storyteller in Scott County, Vir- 
ginia, who returned to the mountains after living 
most of her childhood in Chicago; Dr. William 
Turner, a university professor from a black coal 
mining family in Lynch, Kentucky; and the Har- 
dins, a family returning to the mountains after 17 
years in Baltimore. An overview of the social, 
cultural, and economic features of Appalachia 
that variously drives them away, holds them, or 
pulls them back emerges from their personal rec- 
ollections. The first film in the Histoij of Ap- 
palachia series is Herb E. Smith's Strangers & 
Kin( 1984), a documentary on popular stereotypes 
of Appalachians. Long Journey Home: Appal- 
shop, 306 Madison St., Whitesburg, KY 41858; 
(606)633-0108. 

The James Agee Film Project, makers of Agee 
and The Electric Valley, has just released a new, 
feature-length documentary. Long Shadows is a 
film about the legacy of the Civil War and its 
echoes of the conflict still reverberating in U.S. 
society. Director Ross Spears features a number 
of noted observers, including writers Robert Penn 
Warren, Studs Terkel, Tom Wicker, Robert 



In their three-part videotape Consuming 
Hunger Freke Vuijst and Man Ziv look at 
mega-media events— like Live Aid and 
Hands Across America— as the new 
instrument of televised charity. 

Courtesy Maryknoll World 



Coles, former President Jimmy Carter, and histo- 
rians C. Vann Woodward and John Hope Frank- 
lin. They speak about the central themes of the 
continuing economic impact of the war on North 
and South, the conflicts and stereotypes that still 
exist between the two regions, the enduring leg- 
ends and heros from the war, its effect on U.S. 
military and foreign policy, and the legacy of race 
relations. As Robert Penn Warren points out, 
"The Civil War is, for the American imagination, 
the great single event of our history." Long 
Shadows also shows how the war has captured the 
popular imagination — in movies, literature, and 
song throughout the twentieth century. For 
theatrical screenings of Long Shadows, a special 
3-D prologue is available, consisting of 3-D Civil 
War images taken from 1 25-year-old stereocards. 
Long Shadows: James Agee Film Project, 316 E. 
Main St., Johnson City, TN 37601; (615) 926- 
8637. 

Last month, the Neighborhood Film/Video 
Project and the Folklife Center of Philadelphia's 
International House premiered a unique film and 
concert event by two Japanese American women 
artists. Three Generations deals with the personal 
histories of filmmaker Lise Yasui and musician/ 
composer Sumi Tonooka in relation to their 
family's experiences during World War JJ. 
Yasui 's 30-minute film Family Gathering, which 
features music by Tonooka, explores the experi- 
ences of her grandparents and the memories and 
silences of the era in her family history. 
Tonooka's Out of the Silence is a three-movement 
musical tone poem, or triptych, that blends tradi- 
tional Japanese instrumentation — the shakuhachi 
and koto — with poetry and prose, jazz and con- 
temporary music. Inspired by her relative's expe- 
riences during the 1940s, the individual sections 
are named for the successive Japanese American 
generations: Issei, Nisei, and Sansei. Three 
Generations: Neighborhood Film Project. 3701 
Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; (215) 387- 
5125. 

Phil Zwickler and Jane Lippman have released 
their new film Rights and Reactions: Lesbian 
and Gay Rights on Trial through Tapestry Inter- 
national in New York. The one-hour documentary 
looks at proponents and opponents of an contro- 
versial issue — legal and civil rights for lesbians 
and gay men — and records testimony and debates 
on the floor of the New York City Council during 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 





THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 

• Comprehensive health, disability, life, and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• Festival Bureau: your inside track to over 400 international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and public forums to increase support for independent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aesthetic issues 

• Discounts on professional services, including car rental, film labs, post-production facilities & equipment rental 
AND 

• A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film and Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine 
tailored to your needs (10 issues per year) 



Help Yourself. 



j 



oin AIVF Today and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

I | $35/year individual 
] (Add $10 for first class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT) 

I I $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID) 

] $50/year library (subscription only) 

I I $75/year organization 

I I $45/year foreign (outside US, Canada & Mexico) 



Name 



Address 



City 



State 



Zip. 



Country (if outside US) 
Telephone 



Please bill my: 
Acct. # 



Visa Mastercard 



Exp. Date 
Signature 



OR: Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 
9th floor. New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 



, 



, 






1986 hearings on the Gay Rights Bill. Tempers 
flare and strong rhetoric abounds as representa- 
tives pro and con explain their views, culminating 
in the Council vote that passed the 1 5-year-old bill 
into law. Film Forum in New York City has 
booked the film for a two-week run in June, and it 
was screened in the Panorama section at the Berlin 
International Film Festival. WNET, New York 
City 's public TV station has also scheduled Rights 
and Reactions for an air date nextfall. Rightsand 
Reactions: Tapestry International, 924 Broad- 
way, New York, NY 10010; (212) 677-6007. 

If the Vietnam conflict was a "television war," 
starvation in Africa has become a "television 
famine," even though television belatedly ac- 
knowledged Ethiopia's 1984 and 1985 famine. In 
Consuming Hunger, Han Ziv and Freke Vuijst's 
three-part video series, the politics of these media 
images is subjected to an incisive analysis. Part 
One: Getting the Story, describes how news 
events from the third world are given low priority 
on western television. At first, the Ethiopian trag- 
edy was considered "just another famine" and 
shoved to the back burner by U.S. broadcasters 
until the BBC broke the story. Yet, when the now 
infamous images of grieving mothers and their 
tiny, emaciated children were finally aired, it 
became the most moving news story of the 
decade. Part Two: Shaping the Image shows how 
tragedy can move quickly from television news to 
television spectacle — in the form of the Live Aid 
benefit, when these same pictures of starving 
children were exploited by fundraisers, movies of 
the week, and commercials. This type of mega- 
event is explored further in Part Three: Selling the 
Feeling, which takes a look at the Hands Across 
America campaign to raise money for homeless 
people. The series was produced by Maryknoll 
World Productions, and the three parts are also 
available separately. Consuming Hunger: Mary- 
knoll World, Media Relations, Maryknoll, New 
York, 10545-0307; (800) 227-8523; (914) 941- 
7590, ext. 308. 

The Educational Video Center, which trains 
innercity youth to make video documentaries, has 
earned top marks from festivals for its new pro- 
duction, 2371 Second Avenue: An East Harlem 
Story. A group of five teenagers from New York 
City conceived, researched, shot, and edited the 
tape on the housing conditions endured by Millie 
Reyes, a member of the group and resident of East 
Harlem. The crew documented the decay of her 
building, interviewed other tenants and the super- 
intendent, and followed them as they presented a 
petition to the landlord's office. Last November, 
the San Antonio Latino Cinefestival awarded 
2371 Second Avenue its Premier Mesquite Honor- 
able Mention award. Later that month, EVC di- 
rector Steve Goodman and videographer Miriam 
Hernandez were flown courtesy of JVC to the 
Tokyo Video festival, where the tape won the 
coveted President's Award, out of a pool of over 
1,000 other entrants. 2371 Second Avenue: EVC, 
87 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10013; (212) 
219-8129. 



VIJIO 

212-645-3790/1 



AFFORDABLE POST PRODUCTION 



Including: OFF-LINE EDITING 



A/B ROLL 



COMPUTER GRAPHIC 



PRODUCTION 



Conception to Completion 



5 West 20th St. 5th Floor, New York, New York 10011 



oasis 

Video Postproduction 
Services for Independents 

Logging Systems Design 

Off-Line Editing 

and 

Audio Mixing 

Edit List Creation 

Dn-Line Planning 

and 
Edit Production 

All Formats 



For Serious VHS Works 

FINE EDIT VHS SYSTEM 

with Hi-Fi Sound 

and 

VHS Dubs 

from 3A", VHS, Beta I, 8mm 

(212) 675-2477 



Make your next video shoot 
as happy as this one. 




Call 

Kingfish 

^BETACAM production package with van 

<s Award-winning producers 

* BETACAM to %" or VHS dubbing with 
time code and window dub 

s 3 A" to %" time code editing with 
Sony 5850s 

^Excruciatingly low rates! 

^Convenient SoHo location 

For a good time call Andv or Louis at 

(212)9258448 

KINGFISH VIDEO PRODI TTIONS VIDEO I HOP SHOP ' 




EDUCATIONAL VIDEO CENTER 

87 Lafayette Street • New York, NY 10013 • 212-219-8129 



SITING— $10/HR, $20/HR w/editor 

%" SONY RM 440/5800-5850 

VHS JVC RM 86U/BR 8600U 

CHARACTER GENERATING— $25/HR 

SONY M3A CAMERA PACKAGE - $330/DAY 
INDEPENDENTS WELCOMED 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 39 



CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independent's Classifieds col- 
umn includes all listings for " Buy • Rent 
• Sell," "Freelancers" & "Postproduc- 
tion" categories. It is restricted to 
memPers only. Each entry has a 250 
character limit & costs $15 per issue. 
Ads exceeding this length will be 
edited. Payment must be made at 
the time of submission. Anyone wish- 
ing to run a classified ad more than 
once must pay for each insertion & in- 
dicate the number of insertions on 
the submitted copy. Each classified 
ad must be typed, double-spaced & 
worded exactly as it should appear. 
Deadlines for Classifieds will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of each 
month, two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., April 8 for the June issue. 
Make check or money order— no 
cash, please— payable to FIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 



Technical Publications: 16mm, 35mm camera man- 
ual (specify) S20; Audio Design (Mechanics of Sound 
Recording) $36; Optical Printer Prep. $20; Budget 
Form Set $10; Lens Test Glossary $20. Crosscountry 
Film Video, 724 Bloomfield St., Hoboken, NJ 07030; 
(201) 798-0949. Write for used equipment catalog. 

For Sale: Sony M3A video camera, broadcast quality. 
750 lines, 58 S/N. many auto features, w/ Canon 15X 
zoom lens, batteries, case. Condition like new. $6700. 
(718) 786-5001. 

The Editors Notebook: IBM or Commodore program 
creates logs, edit lists in SMPTE. or edge numbers. 
Calculates precise edge numbers for 16mm or 35mm 
neg conform to SMPTE allowing film edit from win- 
dow dubs or off-line video edit. Call Arthur Boudine 
(914) 693-8198. 

For Sale: JK optical printer, bought new 1 1/86, excel- 
lent condition, 2 lens, 16mm & S8mm gates, bolex rex 

5 camera, JK computerized sequencer. Call Dawn 
(216) 961-9367, or 229-0968; leave message. 

For Sale: FOR-A VTW 300 char. gen. B/W w/ color 
option. Ext. Sync or Genlock to video in. 16 pg. mem- 
ory. Roll, Crawl & Normal transitions. Wipe capable. 
Flash, auto center, edit insert. W/ monochrome monitor 

6 manual. Can be used as a stand-alone DSK (will 
overlay video in). $1000/b.o. Mark (212) 619-2017. 

Wantedto Buy: 35mm flatbed editing table, 2-plate on 
4-plate. Call Patrick: (212) 620-3955. 

For Sale: Arri lie camera, 32mm, 50mm, 70mm 
Cooks, 2 mags, variable & crystal motors, flat base, 
matte box, batt. cases, $4,000 or b/o. 16 Angienieux 
zoom lenses, 12-120mm, 10-150mm. $800 each. 
16mm upright Moviola, call Mark (212) 645-2057, 
(617) 522-8450. 



Need a production office space in Manhattan for an 
independent. Also want to buy 35mm & 16mm 8-plate 
flatbeds. Contact: Louis (212) 219-1049. 

3/4" Starter Editing System: Package includes Echo 
SE-2 switcher. Nova 500 TBC, Jaytex editor, CR-6600 
player & CR-8200 recorder: $7,000. Will add Hitachi 
SK-80A camera with accessories at: $1,000. All equip- 
ment includes manuals except TBC. Call Chris (314) 
231-0055. 

For Sale: Ikegami HL83 w/ Canon J13xNB3, w/ road 
case $7500. Beaulieu 5008-S Super 8 sound w/ 6-66 
Schneider, w/ case $625. Nizo 2056-Super 8 sound w/ 
7-56 Schneider, w/ case $500. Angenieux 9.5mm- 
95mm zoom lens w/ CA-I mount $1000. Call Victor 
(212) 732-4587, lv. message. 

For Sale Sennheiser (5) K3U, (2) ME80, (4) MKE 10- 
3, (1) ME40: $1000. AKGD900 shot gun mike: $250. 
(2) EV mics: $200. Nagra ATN: $200. Lamb mixer 
PLM422 w/LP10-24A: $250. Tascam model 5 w/ anvil 
case: $600. Shure M67: $50. Crown VFX2 crossover: 
$225. Call Victor (212) 732-4587. 

For Sale: Pkg 1 ) 16mm 6-plate tilt-top Moviola, Sync, 
Moviescope, Ampli, rewinds, 10-split reels, bins, Rivas 
& Catozzo splicers $3,000. Pkg 2) 3-12 volt Cine 60 
belts, Lisand Arri Pod & H Hat, Pentax Spot $750. All 
items personally owned. Near perfect misc. items in- 
cluded in pkgs. Call Donna (914) 358-7485. 

For Sale: Video camera Sony Trinitron DXC 1640, w/ 
, case $550; portable video cassette recorder Sony Beta 
I SLO 340, w/ BP-60 battery & soft case $400; portable 
video cassette recorder Sony SL 3000 w/ BP-60 battery 
& soft case $300; Sony battery charger/AC unit AC- 
300c $50. Make an offer! (212) 222-2879. 

For Sale: ACL (French) 2 400' mags, 9.5-57 w/ 
Chrosziel, Arri & Nikon adapters, custom leather bar- 
ney w/ onboard battery rig, 3 batt, charger. Eclair 8- 
75fps motor. Halliburton, filters, access. $5000. Steve 
(212) 677-2075. 

For Rent: 6-plate Steenbeck available in your home or 
studio. S300/mo. Negotiable. Call Roberta (212) 874- 
7255. 



Freelancers 

Director/Cinematographer: 10th year specializing in 
unusual in-camera effects for complete 16mm music 
videos. Shoot, cut, transfer. Cost effective true artistic 
filmmaking. Arriflex, Ang., Sachtler. Lowel. car. 40 
min. from NYC. Call for reel & rates. Gerard Yates 
(914) 764-8558. 

Photos by Les Simon: 35mm still photographer avail- 
able for location scouting, set shoots, publicity shoots 
or what have you. Experienced, reasonable. Box 2287, 
New York, NY 10009; (212) 724-2800 (service). 

Video Production: Experienced crew with complete 
package, including Sony CCD Camera. BVU 1 10 with 
Time Code, Lowel DPs. Omnis & Totas. Full audio & 
many other extras. High quality VHS & 3/4" duplica- 
tion also available. Call (212) 319-5970. 

AC with Aaton available for your independent pro- 



duction. Incredibly low prices. Call (914) 234-7564. 

Sound Person with Nagra would like to work on your 
production. My rate is extremely low. Call (914) 234- 
7564. 

3/4" Video Production: Broadcast quality 3-tube Sony 
camera, deck, tripod, mikes, lights, background mate- 
rial, a/c van, w/ experienced cameraperson, very rea- 
sonable rates. Smart Video (212) 877-5545. 

Director/Cameraperson available with Ikegami 3/4" 
or Betacam packages — crew & additional equipment 
on request. 10 yrs documentary, broadcast & industrial 
experience. Rates negotiable. For reel & information, 
call Richard (212) 247-2471. 

Gaffer: 18' grip truck with loading room for camera- 
persons. Lighting packages: 200W to 2K, generators. 
Call for information & rental prices. J. Anthony Pro- 
ductions (516) 294-1038. 

Cameraman with Own Equipment avail.: 16SR. 
35BL. Superspeed lenses, Z31 video camera, sound 
equipment, lighting van. Passport. Certified scuba 
diver. Speak French, a little Spanish. Call (212) 929- 
7728. 

Original Music Award-winning composer/producer 
available for interesting & quality projects. Film or 
video. Experienced professional. Complete production 
services from composing to finished soundtrack. Rates 
depend on project. (916) 769-5734. Dennis Rivellino. 

Production Manager w/ casting experience & an of- 
fice in the heart of the film business is now available for 
your project. Features, industrials, commericals, music 
videos — no job too big or small. Call IFL (212) 315- 
3670. 

Ctnematographer with Aaton 16mm/Super 16mm. 
lighting & sound package. Low-budget feature experi- 
ence. Interested in dramatic features & shorts. Call for 
reel & rates. Jonathan (212) 925-9723. 

Word Processing: Letter quality for your script, pro- 
posal. . .. Experienced; also writing & editing. Call Jean 
(718) 788-7156. 

Media Consultant: Market your project successfully. 
Production-related assistance incl. fundraising, pack- 
aging, script/project doctoring, marketing strategies. 
Proposals & pitches for gov't grants, foundations, 
corps, individuals, studios, nets, int'l markets. Power 
resumes. Barbara Sirota Media. (212) 740-2272. 

Exp. Script Supervisor available to work on features, 
shorts & commercials. Professionalism a must. Grai 
Rice: (212)242-1601. 

Stills Photographer available for production & pub- 
licity stills. Reliable, flexible & very reasonable. Call 
Warner at (212) 228-7670. 

Researcher with Writing Skills available for feature 
& documentary projects. Reasonable rates, refs. avail- 
able. Call (212) 477-6828. 

Independent Filmmaker/Videographer/Soundman 
with equipment available for short or long-term proj- 
ects. Crew available. Cameras, lights, and/or audio. 
PCM digital sound recording. Call Arthur Boudine, NY 
area (914) 693-8198. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



VVV Productions: We care about your project, treat- 
ing it as if it were one of ours. To us professionalism 
does not mean lack of passion or commitment. Try our 
experienced crew & location pkg (Sony DXC 3000, VO 
6800, tripod, mikes, lights, etc.). Call us today. Because 
we care. (212)662-1342. 

Feature Crew Wanted: Low budget 35mm feature 
needs prod, manager & location managers, AD, camera 
op. (w/ Itg. exp.), POC, cook, etc. Pay moderate, but this 
is a film where quality matters. Resume: Stone Canyon 
Films, #10, 32 W. 31 St., NY, NY 10001. 



price. Wolf Mountain Studios (212) 431-8748. 

Offline Sony 3/4" Editing Room: Comfortable envi- 
ronment, near downtown Brooklyn. With or without 
editor. Reasonable rates, discounts for AIVF members 
& students. (718) 852-2643. 

The Editors Notebook: IBM or Commodore pro- 
gram creates logs, edit lists in SMPTE or edge numbers. 
Calculates precise edge numbers for 16mm or 35mm 
neg conform to SMPTE allowing film edit from win- 
dow dubs or off-line video edit. Call Arthur Boudine 
(914)693-8198. 



Off-line Videotape Editor/Production Coordina- 
tor available for wide range of projects — from docu- 
mentary to industrial; narrative to experimental. Good 
rates. Please call Sally Kaplan (212) 226-4676. 

Broadcast Quality Title Library: Sharp, attractive 
titles at less than 25 cents each. Enhance your produc- 
tions with over 180 titles for Weddings, Sports, Holi- 
days & more. For free information, call: Capricorn 
Video Productions, Nat. l-(800) 237-8400 Ext. 19, FL 
l-(800) 282-1469 Ext. 19. 



Postproduction 

Bob Brodsky & ToniTreadway: Super 8 & 8mm film- 
to-video mastering with scene-by-scene color correc- 
tion to 3/4", 1" & Betacam. By appointment only. Call 
(617) 666-3372. 

Sound Transfers: 16/35mm, all speeds & formats, 
including multi-track & time code. Full FX Library. 
Evening & weekend service available, convenient 
downtown location. Low rates. Downtown Transfer 
(212) 255-8698. 

Negative Matching: Complete 35mm & 16mm serv- 
ice. Discount available to AIVF members & students. 
Contact Wood Lam (212) 633-0815. 

3/4" & 3/4"-SP Broadcast Quality Editing with A/B 
roll, $95/hr including operator. Free special FX for 
AIVF members, inch slo-mo, freezes, four-quad, 
graphics. Call HDTV Enterprises, Inc., near Lincoln 
Center. (212) 874-4524. 

3/4" Editing: Sony 5850 system with Chyron VP2 plus, 
TBC, scopes, SEG, digital effects & audio sweetening. 
Low prices, great editors. Also: highest quality video 
duplication known to man to & from 3/4" to VHS. Call 
(212) 319-5970. 

16mm Editing Room: Fully equipped with 6-plate 
Steenbeck & 24-hr access. Secure, convenient Upper 
West Side location (across street from Lincoln Center). 
Reasonable rates. Call Jeff Wisotsky Productions (212) 
971-5637. 

16mm Flatbeds for Rent: 6-plate flatbeds for rent in 
your workspace or fully equipped downtown editing 
room with 24-hour access. Cheapest rates in NYC for 
independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions 

(212) 873-4470. 

Editors: Downtown Transfer offers Digital Sampling. 
Create room tone or ambience tracks from existing 
tapes by sampling brief pauses between words or quiet 
instant before "Action." Manipulate sound effects by 
stretching, shrinking, looping, changing pitch, tempo. 
Full FX library. Downtown Transfer (212) 255-8698. 

3/4" Video Editing. 1/2" dubbing. SlO/hr, you do it. 
S25/hr, we do it. Rm 440/Sony decks. West Village. 
Robby or Doron. (212) 620-9157. 

3/4" Off-Line editing complete w/ Sony BVU 800 
decks, Sony BVE 800 controller. Broadcast quality at 
industrial rates. Downtown. 24-hr access. Low prices. 
Martin Smith Productions (212) 925-6541. 

Super VHS Pre & Postproduction Studio: Panasonic 
200 CLE Camera, AG 7400 portable deck & AG 7500 
off-line editing system with character generator. Supe- 
rior quality (400+ lines of resolution) at an affordable 



Thfi XV ATHENS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 

y 'Qff / ^ Jt^YzVil Presenting a Workshop in 

^, 15 j^^ '~'J^^' Documentary Issues. 

P.O. Box 388 
Athens, Ohio 45701 

Or call: (614) 593-1330 




Gala Party and Benefit 
for 

FLAHERTY SEMINARS 

Saturday, May 7, 1988 
6 to 9 p.m. 

May Auditorium of the New School 
for Social Research 
66 Fifth Avenue (12/ 13th Streets) 
New York, NY 



Make your tax-deductible 

contribution ($10 students, 

$25. or more, all others) 

payable to 

International 

Film Seminars, Inc. 

and mail to Flaherty Gala, 

Deirdre Boyle, Chair 

88 BleeckerSt.,#2-S 

New York NY 10012. 

For further information call 

212/475-1955 




Grip and 

Camera Truck 
Award Winning Film 

and Video Crews 

24221 John R. 
Hazel Park, Michigan 48030 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 41 



NOTICES 




Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others 
are included as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., April 8 for the June issue. 
Send notices to: Independent No- 
tices, FIVF, 625 Broadway, New York, 
NY 10012. 



Conferences • Workshops 

National Federation of Community Broadcasters: 
annual training conference & business meeting, Apr. 
14-18 at Crowne Plaza Holiday Inn, in suburban Wash- 
ington, DC. Over 250 trainers & business mtg delegates 
representing public radio, incl. mgrs, chief engineers & 
program directors. Contact: NFCB, Conference Staff, 
1314 14th St., NW, Washington, DC 20005. 

California Lawyers for the Arts: Copyright clinics 
will be held on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month 
during 1988 (except Feb. 13, May 28, Nov. 26 & Dec. 
24). Drop-in consultations of approx. 20 min. from 10 
a.m.- 1 2:30 p.m. at CLA Library, Bldg. C, Rm. 255 (2nd 
fl.). Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA, $10 for 
members; $20 nonmembers. CLA, Fort Mason Center. 
Bldg. C, San Francisco, CA 94123; (415) 775-7200. 

10th Annual Chinsegut Conference on the moving 
image for film, video & performance, Apr. 1 3- 1 7 at the 
U. of South Florida. Tampa & the Tides Beach & Bath 
Club on Florida's Gulf Coast. Sponsored by Atlantic 
Prods, Fine Arts Council of Florida. Univ. Film & 
Video Assn & USF Student Gov't & Fine Arts Dept. 
Write: Jill Johnston, Art Dept., USF, Tampa, Fl 33620: 
(813) 974-2360. 

INPUT '88: Annual forum for exchange of program 
ideas among producers, programmers & broadcasting 
organizations will take place May 1-8 in Philadelphia. 
Contact: INPUT '88 Secretariat, Frances McElroy, 
WHYY, Inc., 150 N. 6th St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; 
(215) 351-1200. 

NAMAC Conference: The 1988 Nat'l Alliance of 
Media Arts Centers' annual conference will be held in 
conjunction w/ 12th Atlanta Film & Video Festival, 
May 18-21 at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA. 
Main theme: Media Arts Exhibition, w/ AFVF screen- 
ings held each evening. Topics incl. marketing/public- 
ity/audience development; info services; criticism/ 
program notes/aesthetics of media arts; artists' con- 
cerns; exhibition technology/hardware; intermedia 
arts. Contact: NAMAC, c/o IMAGE Film/Video Ctr., 
75 Bennett St., NW, Ste. M-l, Atlanta, GA 30309; 
(404) 352-4225. 

Professional Video Training Program: Borough of 
Manhattan Community College has expanded course 
offerings in program that retrains film professionals to 
work in video. Offers new on-line A/B edit suite, video 
graphics lab & seminars in managing small businesses. 



All courses & materials free to students. Contact: San- 
dra Poster; (212) 618-1573 or Emily Armstrong, (212) 
618-1387/88, BMCC, 199 Chambers St., New York, 
NY 10007; (212) 618-1605. 

Pioneering Documentarians will discuss the docu- 
mentary form at 2-day seminar presented by Global 
Village in cooperation w/ Media Studies Program at 
New School. Held at May Theater. 66 5th Ave., Parsons 
Bldg., Apr. 9 & 10, 10-5 pm. Cost: $150. Preregistration 
or AIVF members, $125. Contact: Global Village; 
(212) 966-7526. 

ITS/NATPE 1st Intl Teleproduction Conference & 
Exhibition will be held June 25-28 at Los Angeles 
Convention/Exhibition Ctr. Contact: Susan Stanco, 
ITS Dir. of Conference Marketing, Int'l Teleproduc- 
tion Society, 990 6th Ave., Ste. 2 IE, New York, NY 
10018; (212)629-3266. 

Telecommunications & the 1st Amendment will be 
held April 10-12 outside Washington, DC, at the Na- 
tional 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, MD. The conference 
will focus on protecting the public interest with an 
emphasis on coalition building and practical solutions. 
Speakers include Ralph Nader, Lawrence Sapadin, 
DeeDee Halleck, Henry Geller, Andrew Schwartzman, 
Michael Myerson, and others. $90 registration fee, $40 
students. Make checks payable to Telecommunications 
Consumer Coalition and mail to: 105 Madison Ave., 
9th fl., NY, NY 10016, Attn: Andrew Blau. For further 
info: (617) 897-8066. 

Flaherty Gala party and benefit screening will be 
held May 7, 6-9 pm, at New School of Social 
Research's May Auditorium, 66 5th Ave, NYC. Seat- 
ing is limited. For reservations, send check w/ tax- 
deductible contribution of $25, $50 or $100— $10 for 
students. (Contributions accepted at the door, but seat- 
ing not guaranteed.) Make checks payable to: Interna- 
tional Film Seminars, Inc. Mail to: Flaherty Gala, 
Deirdre Boyle, Chair, 88 Bleecker St., #2-S, NY, NY 
10012; (212)475-1955. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

Home Videos Wanted for national TV show. Looking 
for funny or offbeat product, from music videos to mini- 
movies. Prizes awarded to selected pieces. All will be 
returned. Send tapes to: Kevin Berg, c/o Lynch/Biller 
Prods., 6430 Sunset Blvd., #901, Hollywood, CA 
90028; (213)469-7166. 

Short Film Submissions Wanted: MTV is now devel- 
oping weekly comedy series that incorporates funny, 
bizarre, or "strange" short films. Optimum length: 
1:30-3:00. Longer submissions screened w/ under- 
standing that they may be edited to fit this segment 
length. Tapes can be submitted on 1/2" or 3/4". but must 
have 3/4" masters for air. Please send submissions to: 
MTV Comedy Films, 1775 Broadway, 10th fl.. New 
York. NY 10019. 

2nd New York City Lesbian & Gay Experimental 
Film Festival is seeking work in 16mm & Super 8 to be 
exhibited in Sept. 1988. Submissions between Apr. 1 & 
July 1 5. Send prints or video transfers to: Jim Hubbard, 
503 Broadway, Rm. 503, New York City 1 00 1 2. Or call 



(212) 505-1758. Women & minorities especially en- 
couraged to apply. 

Cincinnati Artists Group Effort is looking for video 
art work to be included in a series of 3 TV shows for 
broadcast distribution. Pieces should be about 5 min. or 
less & will be paid honoriaria of up to $200/mLn. for 
selected work. Deadline for entries: July 1. Send entries 
w/ SAS return mailer to: CAGE, 344 W. 4th St., 
Cincinnati, OH 45202. 

Mediamix is currently accepting original video, film & 
computer work for cable TV series New Gallery. Fic- 
tional narrative, non-narrative, experimental & abstract 
work accepted. All work must be submitted on 3/4" 
video (VHS/Beta formats conditionally accepted). No 
piece may exceed 23 min. Contact producers in writing 
or by phone: Mediamix, New Gallery Producers, Box 
1623, New Brunswick, NJ 08903; (201) 249-1375. 

Zieman Productions creates music videos using stock 
footage & recut films. Seek nonexclusive rights for film 
footage to use in videos, incl. quality dramatic, dance, 
performance, industrials w/ dramatic or illustrative 
scenes & other films & their outtakes w/ footage suit- 
able for rock, country, blues, pop & show-tune music 
videos. Pay competitive rates for footage used & will 
supply a 1" master, if usable. Contact: John Hession, 
Zieman Prods., 2 Bleecker St., New York, NY 10012; 
(212) 529-1254. 

The Media Show, Channel 4 magazine-format pro- 
gram dealing with film. TV. press, advertising & print, 
seeks films/tapes. Please send videos or proposals for 
work-in-progress to: Kate Newington, Wall to Wall 
Television Ltd., 1 Richmond Mews, Off Nead St., 
London W1V 5 AG, England. 



Opportunities • Gigs 

Grants Manager: Film News Now Foundation seeks 
well-organized, meticulous person dedicated to minor- 
ity & social issue film & video to administer fiscal 
sponsorship program & in-house grants management. 
ParL-time position. Send resume to Film News, 335 W. 
38th St., 5th fl.. New York, NY 10018. 

Media Internships Available. Women Make Movies, 
nonprofit feminist media distr. organization, now 
seeking interns or work/study students for work as 
distrib., promotion & program assts. Contact: Celia 
Chong, WMM, 225 Lafayette St., Rm. 21 1 , New York, 
NY 10012; (212) 925-0606. 

Video/Film Artist: Several positions anticipated in 
Visual Arts Dept. of UC/San Diego. Seeks video/ 
filmmaker who has made a distinctive & original con- 
tribution to the field. Must have broad knowledge & 
work experience. Substantial exhibition record & col- 
lege teaching exp. required. Part-time or possibly full- 
time position* s) to replace faculty on leave for the 1988- 
89 academic yr. Write: David Antin, chair. Visual Arts 
(B-027), Univ. of Calif., San Diego, La Jolla. CA 
92093. 

Video Artist/Instructor wanted to teach intermedi- 
ate & advanced production & related courses beginning 
Fall 1988, and to design access plan for new facilities. 
Masters degree required. MFA preferred. Two years 



42 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 



college-level teaching exp. preferred. Three-quarters 
time position, permanent contract. Salary negotiable, 
exc. benefits & tuition waiver. Send resume by April 21 
to: Dir. of Personnel, Massachusetts College of Art, 62 1 
Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 021 15. 

Video Dept. Supervisor sought who has technical, 
production & administrative experience and is inter- 
ested in working with people with developmental dis- 
abilities. Send resume to: Rena Zaid, Little City Foun- 
dation, 4801 W. Peterson, Chicago, IL 60646. 

Society for Photographic Education is soliciting 
proposals for panels & presentations for its 1989 
conference "Media and Society," to be held in Roches- 
ter, NY, Mar. 16-19, 1989. Submissions should be 1 
page or less & be sent before Aug. 1 to: SPE 89 
Rochester Conference, Box 564, Rochester, NY 14603. 



Publications • Software 

Radius/Resources for Local Arts: new newsletter 
published by Rural Arts Services in cooperation w/ 
Calif. Assembly of Local Arts Agencies. Subs are $ 1 5/ 
yr, but will be provided free in 1988 as a result of a grant 
from the CA Arts Council. (Paid subs still invited.) 
Contact: RADIUS, Rural Arts Services, Box 1547, 
Mendocino, CA 95460. 

Intl Dictionary of Films & Filmmakers: Vol. 5 Title 
Index now available from St. James Press. Incls. in- 
depth info on world's most significant films & fil- 
makers, past & present. Complete 5 vol. set is $250, or 
$60 each. Contact: St. James Press, 425 N. Michigan 
Ave., Chicago, IL 6061 1; (800) 345-0392; (312) 329- 
0806. 

California Lawyers for the Arts: Books on legal 
business for nonprofits & the arts available from CLA. 
Incl. publications on nonprofit corporations, artists' 
marketing manual, income tax, museums, contracts, 
dispute resolution, independent publishing, copyright 
& insurance. Contact: CLA, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. 
C, San Francisco, CA 94123. 

Framework 34: British film journal now published by 
Sankofa Film & Video Unit. Current issue incl. articles 
on Soviet cultural politics, Chilean cinema in exile, 3rd 
cinema & Arab cinema. Subscriptions incl. 2 free back 
issues: $15 for individuals, $25 for institutions. Con- 
tact: Framework, 40A, Topsfield Parade, London, N8 
8QA, UK. 

Art of Filing: Tax workbook for visual, performing & 
literary artists & other self-employed professionals 
now available from Resources & Counseling, United 
Arts. Cost: $12.95/ea. (MN residents add 6% tax), plus 
$1.50 postage & handling. Make check payable to: 
United Arts, R&C/UA, 41 1 Landmark Ctr., 75 W. 5th 
St., St. Paul, MN 55102; (612) 292-4381. 

Texas Film/Tape Professionals 1987 directory is 
now available free of charge to individuals and compa- 
nies involved with the Texas film/tape production in- 
dustry. Contact: Nicki Roberts, Texas Assoc, of Film/ 
Tape Professionals, 3023 Routh St., Suite 208, Dallas, 
TX 75201; (214)871-2701. 



Resources • Funds 

Women in Film: 4th annual Film Finishing Fund round 
provides small completion grants to video/filmmakers 



who have demonstrated advanced & innovative skills 
consistent w/ goals of WIF. For guidelines & appls send 
SASE to: Film Finishing Fund, Women in Film, 6464 
Sunset Blvd., Ste. 660, Los Angeles, CA 90028. 

The Media Bureau provides $500 grants to New York 
state artists for postproduction of video & radio proj- 
ects. Submit appl., budget form & rough-cut of project 
on 3/4" videotape or audio cassette (for radio projects). 
Deadline: May 1. Also has funds available for presen- 
tation of video & audiotapes in New York State, incl. 
screenings, installations & performances of multi- 
media works incorporating substantial amounts of 
video or radio, workshops, short residencies, tech. asst 
& equip, access relating directly to these projects. 
Appls reviewed continuously. Contact: Media Bureau, 
The Kitchen, 512 W. 19th St., New York, NY 1001 1; 
(212) 255-5793. 

Visual Studies Workshop: Now accepting proposals 
for 1988-89 Artist-in-Residency program. Photogra- 
phers, video artists, book artists & printers invited to 
submit proposals for 1-mo. residencies at Visual Stud- 
ies Workshop. Residents receive $1000 honorarium, 
living space & access to facilities. Deadline: Apr. 15. 
Contact: AIR Program, Visual Studies Workshop, 31 
Prince St., Rochester, NY 14607; (716) 442-8676. 

Corporation for Public Broadcastings Open So- 
licitation deadline: Apr. 22. For appls, contact: CPB, 
1111 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 955- 
5100. 

Intermedia Arts Minnesota: Grants to Interdiscipli- 
nary Artists program funded by NEA & Rockefeller 
Fnd. awards $2500 to $7000 for works involving 2 or 
more art forms, to artists from MN, IA, ND, SD & WI. 
Contact: Al Kosters, Intermedia Arts, 425 Ontario St., 
SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414; (612) 627-4444. 

Arts Midwest/NEA regional Visual Arts Fellowship 
Award Program provides 20 awards of $3,500 ea. to 
prof, visual artists living & working in IL. IN, IA, MI, 
MN, ND, OH, SD & WI, who have not received NEA 
fellowships. Contact: Arts Midwest, 528 Hennepin 
Ave., Ste. 310, Minneapolis, MN 55403; (612) 341- 
0755. 

MidAtlantic Arts Foundation: Visual Arts Resi- 
dency Program appl. deadline: July 15. Contact: Mid- 
Atlantic Arts Foundation, 11 E. Chase St., Ste. IA, 
Baltimore, MD 21202; (301) 539-6656. 

New York Council on the Humanities: Proposals for 
project support deadline: June 1. Contact: NYCH, 198 
Broadway, 10th fl., New York, NY 10038; (212) 233- 
1131. 

Real Art Ways Audio & Video Access Center avail- 
able to ind. producers. Multi-track recording studio & 
3/4" shooting & editing video facility. Subsidies of- 
fered for portion of user cost. Consultation, production 
& technical assistance also provided. Contact: Marty 
Fegy, technical director or Victor Velt, video curator. 
Real Art Ways, 94 Allyn St., Hartford, CT, 06103- 
1402. 

RISCA Deadlines: Rhode Island State Council on the 
Arts project support appl. deadline: Mar. 1; individual 
fellowships. Mar. 15; general operating support, Apr. 
15. Contact: RISCA, 312 Wickenden St., Providence, 
RI 02903. 

South Carolina Arts Commission Grant deadlines: 
May 15 & Aug. 15 for individuals & orgs. Contact: SC 
Arts Comm., 1800 Gervais St.. Columbia, SC 29201; 



(803) 734-8696. 

Film/Video Project Sponsorship: Collective for Liv- 
ing Cinema serves as nonprofit sponsorship organiza- 
tion for selected film/video projects. For information & 
guidelines contact: Jack Walsh, Collective for Living 
Cinema, 41 White St., New York, NY 10013; (212) 
925-3926. 

FAF Grants for funding of new work by Bay Area 
film/videomakers in 3 cats: short, personal works 
($3000 per grant), project development ($1000 per 
grant) & completion/distribution ($2500 per grant). 
Appl. deadline: May 23. For guidelines & forms, call: 
(415) 552-8760. 



Trims & Glitches 

Kudos to Karil Daniels, whose documentary Water 
Baby: Experiences of Water Birth keeps on bringing in 
awards. The latest is 1st prize in Educational Division 
of Video Medium Festival, sponsored by the Geoffrey 
Taber Gallery in Columbus, OH. 

Congrats to AIVF members who have been awarded 
Writers Guild of America East Foundation Fellow- 
ships: Pablo Figueroa, Hsienli Chia, Gordon Hitchins 
& Sandy Jaffee. 

Adrienne Mancia. curator of the Department of Film 
at the Museum of Modern Art, has received the revered 
Croce della Republica, the Order of the Republic of 
Italy. Congratulations! 

Kudos to CPB Open Solicitation finalists William Jer- 
sey of Quest Productions for Earl Warren: His Life and 
Legacy and Michael Park for The Democrats' Di- 
lemma: A Quarter Century of Change. 

Its Oscar Time & we congratulate AIVF members 
who received Academy Award nominations: John 
Junkerman (Hellfire: A Journey from Hiroshima), 
Robert Stone (Radio Bikini), and Deborah Dickson 
(Frances Steloff: Memoirs of a Bookseller). 

ReneeTajima& Christine CHOY'snew fWmWho Killed 
Vincent Chin? opened the New Directors/New Films 
series at the Museum of Modern Art in March. AIVF 
and The Independent, in particular, congratulate our 
tireless associate editor and dauntless board member on 
their premiere. 



MOVING? 
LET US KNOW. 

It takes four to six weeks to 

process an address change, 

so please notify us in 

advance. 



APRIL 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 43 



MEMORANDA 



SUCCESS STORY: 

INDEPENDENTS' BOOTH AT BERLIN FEST 



For the second year, AIVF and the New York 
Foundation for the Arts joined in a collaborative 
effort to represent U.S. independent film- and 
videomakers in the market of the 1988 Berlin Film 
Festival, held from February 12 to 23. An ex- 
panded consortium of 35 national media organi- 
zations — including exhibitors, distributors, trade 
associations, publishers, and production compa- 
nies — co-sponsored the market booth and distrib- 
uted literature about their programs. 

The 37 feature and short films selected for the 
Panorama and Forum of Young Cinema sections 
of the festival, as well as the work represented in 
a video sidebar, found a home in the "American 
Independents" booth. In addition, as a major new 
component to this annual endeavor, 18 feature 
films were represented exclusively in the market. 
Lynda Hansen and Lisa Overton of NYFA, 
Kathryn Bowser of AIVF, and a team of volun- 
teers coordinated and attended the market screen- 
ings, answered hundreds of questions, and ad- 
vised filmmakers on all aspects of the festival and 
the promotion of their films. Ulla Rapp of the 
Munich Film Festival served as the booth's Ger- 
man liaison, and the corps of workers who en- 
sured the continual smooth functioning of the 
booth included Karen Arikian of the Independent 



FIVF THANKS 

The Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film (FIVF), the foundation affiliate of the 
Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers (AIVF), supports a variety of 
programs and services for the independent 
producer community, including publication 
of The Independent, maintenance of the 
Festival Bureau, seminars and workshops, 
an information clearinghouse, and a grant 
making program. None of this work would 
be possible without the generous support of 
the following agencies, foundations and 
organizations: The New York State Council 
on the Arts, the National Endowment for the 
Arts, a federal agency, the New York City 
Department of Cultural Affairs, the 
Governor's Office of Motion Picture and 
Television Development, the Morgan Guar- 
anty Trust Company of New York, the 
Consolidated Edison Company of New 
York, the Benton Foundation, the Funding 
Exchange, and the dozens of organizations 
that advertise in The Independent. 



Feature Project, filmmakers Anne Landesman, 
Donata Beckers, and Barbara Baruch, and dis- 
tributor Emily Russo. 

With over 7,000 people accredited to the festi- 
val, the booth served as an invaluable nerve center 
for attending filmmakers who otherwise may 
have found it a daunting task to make contacts 
with the hundreds of journalists, distributors, 
buyers, and festival reps in attendance. For mar- 
ket filmmakers who weren't present, it guaran- 
teed that their work would be represented. The 
impressive list of films represented at the booth 
generated plenty of excitement and attention. 
Negotiations on several sales were begun or 
concluded by the festival's end. 

Participating consortium members included 
the American Film Institute, the American Film 
and Video Association. American Masters, 
American Playhouse, Bravo, Carnegie Screening 
Room/Bleecker Street Cinemas, the Chicago 
International Film Festival, CUNY-TV, Cornell 
Cinema/Central New York Programmers Group, 
Film Arts Foundation, FilmFest DC, Film Forum, 
Film in the Cities, the Film Society of Lincoln 
Center, First Run Features, Fox/Lorber Associ- 
ates, Frameline/San Francisco International Les- 
bian and Gay Film Festival, Hallwalls, the Inde- 
pendent Feature Project, the Independent Feature 
Project/West, International Documentary Asso- 
ciation, Margaret Mead Film Festival, the Mu- 
seum of Modern Art Department of Film, the 
Neighborhood Film and Video Project, the New 
York Center for Visual History, the New York 
Council for the Humanities, the New York 
Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Televi- 
sion Development, New York Women in Film, 
Northwest Film and Video Center, Tapestry 
Productions, Third World Newsreel, UCLA Film 
and Television Archive, and WNET Channel 13/ 
Independent Focus. 



LOCARNO FEST 

TO PRE-SCREEN AT FIVF 

David Streiff, the director of the Locamo Interna- 
tional Film Festival in Switzerland, will visit 
FIVF at the end of May to select films for the 
forty-first edition of the festival. First or second 
feature films by new directors qualify. For infor- 
mation and applications, please contact Kathryn 
Bowser, FIVF Festival Bureau, 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 1 00 1 2; (2 1 2) 473-3400. 
See this month's "In Brief for details on entry 
requirements. 



ADVANCING 
ADVOCACY 

The Emergency Tax Equity Fund, established by 
AIVF to support efforts to convince Congress to 
exempt independent film- and videomakers from 
the uniform capitalization rules of the 1986 Tax 
Reform Act [see "Media Clips" and "Legal 
Briefs," March 1988], has been launched by 
contributions from: 

Adair & Armstrong, Leandra Adishian. Diana Agosta, 
Ann Alter, Karen Arikian, Steven Ascher, Miranda 
Beeson, Zvia Bird, Neil Burger, Peter Bull, Rebecca 
Coffey, Janet Cole, Constance Coleman, Scott Coun- 
sels Margaret Carr Daniel, Susan Delson, Bryan Dew. 
Howard Dratch, Nena Eskridge, Eric Farber, Nicole 
Fauteaux, Judy Fieth, Deirdre Fishel, Margaret Mary 
Foss, Mark Gilliland, Cary Goldweber, Deborah Gor- 
don, George Gregory. Peter Griesinger, Grania Guriev- 
itch, Mary Guzzy, Julie Gustafson, Joyce Harris, 
Joshua Harrison, Sorrel Doris Hays, Arthur Her- 
mansen, Lisa Hsia, Sharon Kahn. Michelle Marder 
Kamhi, Larry Kay, Manfred Kirchheimer, Larry 
Kirschner, Joseph Kleinman, Diane Kolyer, Barbara 
Kristaponis, Jill Kroesen, Ruth Lefkowitz, Regge Life. 
Ronald Light. Charles Lyman, Loring McAlpin, Walter 
McGrady, Allen Moore, Eric Muzzy, Robert Panza- 
rella, Muriel Peters. Alan Powell, Yvonne Rainer, Terri 
Randall, John Raugalis, Robin Reidy, Robert Richter, 
Lillian Rivlin, Allan Rostoker, Moe Schwartz, Deborah 
Shaffer, Roger Sherman, Jeffrey Skoller, Robert 
Spencer, Pat Stone, Robert Stone, George C. Stoney, 
Catherine Warnow, Jane Weinstock, J. Weitzman, 
Dean Wetherell, Elizabeth Wilde. 

AIVF thanks all those who have donated to the 
Fund so far and encourages all other members to 
send a check or money order, made out to Emer- 
gency Tax Equity Fund, to AIVF, 625 Broadway, 
9th floor, New York, NY 1 00 1 2. All donations are 
deductible as business expenses. 

Additional contributions to AIVF's Emer- 
gency Legislative Fund, which is being used to 
advocate a National Independent Program Serv- 
ice for public television, have been received from 
Doug Block, Ronald Light, and Heather Dew 
Oaksen. AIVF continues to work with the Na- 
tional Coalition of Independent Public Television 
Producers toward the establishment of NIPS, as 
well as congressional guarantees for the five 
public broadcasting minority programming con- 
sortia, and welcomes more contributions, ad- 
dressed to: AIVF Emergency Legislative Fund, 
AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



44 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1988 




Start on EASTMAN. 

Finish on EASTMAN. 

Film • Tape 




Eastman Kodak Company, Motion Picture and Audiovisual Products Division 

Atlanta: 404/351-6510 'Chicago: 312/218-5174 • Dallas: 214/506-9700 • Hollywood: 213/464-6131 • Honolulu: 808/833-1661 • New York: 212/930-8000 

Rochester: 716/254-1300 • Washington, DC: 703/558-9220 • Montreal: 514/761-3481 • Toronto: 416/766-8233 • Vancouver 604/987-8191. 

© Eastman Kodak Company. 1986 



7b ny Stewart's 

JJOME 



OFFICE 
Tl 



Software for Freelancers 

Expenses . . . 

Invoices . . . 

Contact File and Mailing List . . . 

. . . linked together to save you time and money. Organize expenses by category and project; 
design your invoice with the flexibility of a word processor; attach itemized expenses to 
invoices; store names, addresses and client notes; mailing labels, income and expense reports, 
phone call tickler, job terms, much more. 

$40 (plus $3.30 NYS tax) buys a limited-data version of the program. Use it for 30 days. If 
you like it, pay additional $90 to unlock your copy. If not, return disks and manual for a full 
refund. You can't lose! 

Tony Stewart's HOME OFFICE 

309 West 109th Street, No. 2E 

New York, NY 10025 

(212) 222-4332 

Requires: IBM PC or compatible with 512K memory; hard disk recommended. Not copy protected. 
Make check payable to "Tony Stewart's HOME OFFICE." 3V2" disks available ($4.00 extra). 



WAKE UP YOUR AUDIENCE! 



THE LIBRARY OF SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS 

ON TAPE READY TO USE 

500 EFFECTS $500 



DARINO FILMS (212) 228-4024 



TITLES 
ANIMATION 
SPECIAL EFFECTS 



FILM 

VIDEO 

COMPUTER 



DARINO 
FILMS 



(212)228-4024 



THE 
BEST NAMES 
IN THE 
BUSINESS... 

Agfa ' Ampex • Eastman • Fuji 

Maxell ♦ 3M • Canare • Kings 

Neutrik • Chyron • Crosspoint Latch 

Fostex ' JVC • Leader • Lowel 

Mitsubishi ' Super VHS . . . 

ALL WAITING FOR 
YOU AT 



HAVE 



NEW SPRING 

CATALOG SUPPLEMENT 

JUST OUT!!! 



Audio & Video Tape 

Audio & Video Equipment 

Accessories & Supplies 

Lowest Prices - Fastest Service 




. WESTERN (CA,OR,WA,NV,HI) 

tNEW& REGION OFFICE 818-707-7858 



m& 



518-828-2000 

309 Power Ave. 
Hudson, NY 12534 
Hudson Audio Video Enterprises, Inc. 



EDITING COSTS 
RUN AMOK? 

BUDGETS IN CHAOS? 

There is an alternative! 

Regain control of your project 
creatively and financially 

Edit it yourself on VHS 
at 29th Street Video. 

□ New JVC BR 86OO/RM 86-U 
System 

□ SEG 

□ VHS Duplication 

□ Optional Character Generator 

□ SMPTE Burn-ins available 

□ Low Rates 

El 

STREET VBEO, INC. 

Call us at (212) 594-7530. 
We're committed to your success. 





FIVF 

625 Broadway, 9th floor 

New York, NY 10012 


NON-PROFIT ORG 
U.S. POSTAGE 

PAID 

New York, N.Y. 
Permit No.7089 







MAY 1988 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY $2. 60 



t 



- 



/#*' ' 



J* \ 



m r 



Electronic Backtalk / Interactive Vide 



H TECHNICOLOR 

NEW YORK 

COMMITTED TO THE 

TALENT AND VISION 

THAT 

15 

INDEPENDENT FILM AAAKING 



® 



OFFERING A LEVEL OF 
EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE AND RELIABILITY 

UNMATCHED 
ON THE EAST COAST 

16MMAND35MM 
DAILIES TO RELEASE PRINTS 

AND 

ALL SOUND AND VIDEO NEEDS 



321 WEST 44TH STREET 

NEWYORK, N.Y. 10036 212-582-7310 



CONTENTS 



FEATURES 

1 Bright Moments: The Black Journal Series 

by St. Clair Bourne 

1 4 Electronic Backtalk: The Art of Interactive Video 

by Lucinda Furlong 

2 1 The Limits of Copyright: Moral Rights and the Berne Convention 

by Robert C. Harris 

2 MEDIA CUPS 

Boston Access Decentralizes and Expands 

by Renee Tajima 

Gay Film Tomorrow 

by Quynh Thai 

Midwestern Momentum 

8mm Video Cooking at the Kitchen 

Jay Leyda, 1910-1988 

by Patricia Thomson 

Hugh Robertson, 1932-1988 

by John Williams 

Sequels 

8 FIELD REPORT 

A Different Drummer: Chicago's Labor Beat 

by Amy Killinger 

26 FESTIVALS 

Beverly Hills Swap: The 1988 American Film Market 

by Noreen Ash Mackay 

Where the Action Was: American Independents in Berlin 

by Kathryn Bowser 

In Brief 

33 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

34 CLASSIFIEDS 
36 NOTICES 

39 MEMORANDA 



COVER: With every new invention of video technology, artists invent new ways 
to make that technology interactive. The latest high-tech video frontier is 
videodisc, and since the mid-eighties artists have adapted the machinery 
developed for interactive military and industrial applications for less lethal or 
commercial projects. In "Electronic Backtalk: The Art of Interactive Video," 
Lucinda Furlong traces the short history of artists' involvement with various 
concepts and uses of interactive video. One of these, Roberta Friedman and 
Grahame Weinbren's The Erl King, allows the audience to construct an experi- 
ence of the work from various recorded components, including soprano 
Elisabeth Arnold's rendition of a lied by Shubert based on Goethe's Der Erlkoe- 
nig. Photo courtesy artists. 




MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 



MEDIA CLIPS 




FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INXPENXOT 



BOSTON ACCESS 
DECENTRALIZES AND EXPANDS 



The Boston Community Access and Program- 
ming Foundation has announced expansion plans 
for its public access facilities. The foundation is 
the city's nonprofit access organization, which 
operates the two Boston Neighborhood Network 
Channels under franchise holder Cablevision of 
Boston. According to the foundation's general 
manager, Herbert Jessup, the expansion will in- 
volve all three existing access facilities, as well as 
the construction of a fourth studio. The full studio 
facility in Roxbury will be able to add another 
staff person and additional operating hours, while 
the space of production facilities in Jamaica Plain 
and the South End will be expanded. The Founda- 
tion also runs a mobile, three-camera production 
van. 

But Tim Wright, coordinator at the Jamaica 
Plain-based Southwest Corridor Access Center, 
calls these changes a function of decentralization, 
not expansion. Last year, pro-decentralization 
community producers and access staffers squared 
off with Jessup and some foundation board 
members, who advocated centralization of the 
system. Under the latter proposal, the South End 
and Jamaica Plain centers would have been 
closed. The dispute was resolved when a task 
force composed of producers, staff, and board 
members recommended a decentralization pro- 
cess that would mandate the construction of a 
fourth studio. Wright says that, in light of the 
foundation's limited budget, they agreed to cut- 
backs at the two existing centers as a trade-off. 

The real expansion story in Boston access is the 
dramatic improvements in hardware. Jessup spent 
over $100,000 last year on capital acquisitions, 
including 10 half-inch Panasonic AG 155 and 
AG 160 camcorders and three new industrial 
grade half-inch editing systems with VHS master- 
ing capability. The new equipment has lifted 
Boston access from its nadir in 1985 when, ac- 
cording to Wright, Cablevision abrogated its 
access contribution of five percent of gross reve- 
nues and paid out less than one percent instead. 
The resulting budget constraints took a toll on the 
quality of access in the city. The Asian American 
Resource workshop, which had been producing 
on a regular basis since 1983. stopped using the 
facilities in 1986 after repeated frustrations with 
deteriorating equipment. With the cut. Cable- 
vision was able to negotiate a controversial con- 
tract modification to two percent. "Although 
community producers felt it was a sell out," says 
Wright, "it did double the de facto payments." 

The next step in the decentralization or expan- 
sion plan is the construction of the fourth access 



center. The Boston neighborhoods of Allston. 
Hyde Park, and the South End are being consid- 
ered, and Jessup expects a final decision in April. 

RENEETAJIMA 



GAY FILM TOMORROW 

Plans to develop a nonprofit umbrella organiza- 
tion for gay and lesbian media producers were 
announced last month. The new group, Gay Film 
Today, will serve as a central support structure, 
providing administrative and production assis- 
tance in the form of fundraising, consultations in 
proposal writing, grant administration, exhibition 
planning, and production support. They also 
announced plans to publish Gay Film Today: The 
International Journal of Gay Film. 

"We got the inspiration to start Gay Film 
Today after the Experimental Gay Film Festival 
in New York City last September." recalls John 
Lewis, the group's spokesperson. According to 
Lewis, he and six others — Susan Horowitz. Jim 
Hubbard, Candida Scott Piel, Greta Schiller. 
Andrea Weiss, and Phil Zwickler — formed a 
development committee to set up the organiza- 
tion after they concurred that the gay and lesbian 
media community lacked an organized source of 
information. "We realized that we all had to 
reinvent the wheel repeatedly because there was 
no mechanism that connected us to people who 
had gone ahead," says Lewis. 

In the year ahead. Gay Film Today's develop- 
ment committee will concentrate on setting 
administrative, fiscal, and fundraising policies. 
"We want to establish ourselves within the gay 
community first and to build slowly towards 
organizational stability, rather than risk any capi- 
tal with hasty decisions," explains Lewis. Current 
expenses are being covered by private funds from 
the existing members, but the group has already 
applied to the New York State Council on the Arts 
for funds to establish services to artists. 

A priority for the organization is to assist gay 
and lesbian media producers with their projects 
and to build audiences. The group plans to offer 
production assistance — staff and space — as well 
as help with public relations — flyers, mailings, 
and other methods for cultivating audiences — for 
selected projects that qualify according to finan- 
cial need and viability. Complete guidelines do 
not exist yet, but the first project to receive pro- 
duction, exhibition, and promotion support will 
be Tiny & Ruby: Hell Diviri Women, a film by 
Gay Film Today development committee mem- 



MAY 1988 

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 4 



Publisher 

Editor 

Managing Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff 

Production Staff 

Art Director 

Advertising 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Lucinda Furlong 
Karen Rosenberg 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Emily Fisher 
Ruth Copeland 
Christopher Holme 
Chase Morrison 
(212) 473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley. NJ07110 
PetC a p Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway. 
9th Floor. New York, NY 10012. (212-473- 
3400). a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation dedicated to the 
promotion of video and film, and by the 
Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade 
association of independent producers and 
individuals involved in independent video 
and film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independents 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the .National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is 
assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addressed to the editor. Letters may be 
edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for Independent Video and Film. 
Inc., except where otherwise noteO. 
Reprints require written permission and 
acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198. The Independent is indexed in 
the Alternative Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc. 1988 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Ethan Young, membership/ 
programming director: Kathryn Bowser, festival 
bureau director; Morton Marks, business manager; 
Sol Horowitz, Short Film Showcase project adminis- 
trator; Emily Fisher, administrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Rachel Field 
(chair), Robert Richter (president). Loni Ding (vice 
president). Wendy Lidell (secretary). Richard 
Lorber (treasurer), Robert Aaronson, Adrianne 
Benton, Christine Choy, Lisa Frigand," Regge Life. 
Tom Luddy.* Deanna Morse. Lawrence Sapadin 
(ex officio). Steve Savage.* Barton Weiss. John 
Taylor Williams.* 

* FIVF Board of Directors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



SAVES THE DAY! 




For super-quality computer-timed dailies at the best price in town...SFL is your hero! 

We're a fully-equipped film lab with years of experience offering state-of-the-art 

services, such as liquid gate A&B answer prints... plus the kind of talk-to-the-timer 

personalized attention that you Can't get from other labs at ANY price. 

CALL FOR THE COMPLETE SFL STORY. 



STUDIO FILM LABS 321 WEST 44TH STREET 



STUDIO 

▲ F I I. M • I. A B S ■ 

I N C 



AND FIND OUT WHAT WE CAN SAVE YOU! 



NEW YORK NEW YORK 10036 ■ 212-582-5578 




FOX/LORBER 

ASSOCIATES, INC. 

is acquiring 

independent features 

and 

documentaries 

for all markets and territories 

Contact: Trea Hoving 
Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc. 

432 Park Avenue South, Suite 705, New York, NY 10016 
Telephone: (212) 686-6777 Telex: 425 730 FOXLOR FAX: 212-685-2625 



Make your next video shoot 
as happy as this one. 




Call 

Kingfish 

»-- BETACAM production package with van 

v* Award-winning producers 

^ BETACAM to %" or VHS dubbing with 
time code and window dub 

^%" to %" time code editing with 
Sony 5850s 

^Excruciatingly low rates! 

^Convenient SoHo location 

For a good time call Andy or Louis at 

(212)9258448 

KINGFISH \ll>£OI'Ronil(TIO\S VIDEO CHOP SHOP' 



LEARN 

VIDEO 

EDITING 

5 A " Editing Classes include: 
VIDEO EDITING 

* 

AUDIO MIXING 

* 

TROUBLESHOOTING 

* 

MAX 4 TO A CLASS 

* 

16HR SINGLE WEEKEND 

* 

FREE REFRESHER CLASS 

* 

DYNAMITE TEACHERS 

For more ittio call Debbie or David 

29th STREET 
VIDEO, Inc. 

(212) 594-753© 



VI* HO 

*IAl 

212 -645 -3790/1 



AFFORDABLE POST PRODUCTION 



Including:, OFF-LINE EDITING 



A/B ROLL 



COMPUTER GRAPHICS 



PRODUCTION 



bers Schiller and Weiss. Other services — consul- 
tations, library resources, mailing lists — will be 
available to the general public. 

Lewis adds that another focus for the group will 
be emerging gay and lesbian artists. "We want to 
seek out emerging artists and students and provide 
them with enough support so that they will not 
succumb to the lure of mainstream, commercial 
media." Gay Film Today also intends to restore 
original video material from the Queer Blue Light 
video collection from the 1970s. There is no staff 
in place, and the group is seeking volunteers and 
office space. For more information, contact Gay 
Film Today, Box 20207, New York, New York 
10029; (212) 864-7131. 

QUYNHTHAI 



MIDWESTERN 
MOMENTUM 

Despite its claim to regional diversity, indepen- 
dent filmmaking and all related activities have 
always been heavily concentrated in urban cen- 
ters on the West and East Coasts. But last March, 
a new foothold was established in the heartland by 
a group of film and video producers in Kansas 
City, Missouri: the Midstates Independent Film 
Society. According to executive director Janice 
Woolery, the new organization fills a vacuum left 
by the closing of the City Movie Center, a non- 
profit theater that screened local and regional 
works. MIFS will try to forge a new rallying point 
for independent film through a newsletter, a film 
and video festival, and a fiscal sponsorship pro- 
gram for independent producers. 

In the past, many of the area's most successful 
filmmakers have left Kansas City. "There isn't a 
lot of support for independent producers here," 
says Woolery; "I can' t afford to go anywhere else. 
But there's a lot of talent and story ideas in Kansas 
City. Films can be done here." Little in the way of 
local funding exists for independents and the 
majority survive on commercial production work. 
MIFS itself is operating without funding, and is 
looking for investors and membership fees for 
financing. 

The organization hopes that chapters will form 
in other midstate areas, which they define as 
Arkansas. Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, 
Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Okla- 
homa, and Wisconsin. Also included are Illinois, 
Minnesota, and Texas, where active independent 
filmmaking activities already exist. The group 
decided to include these states in order to provide 
a range of experience for the planned festival. 
"Our region's filmmakers are working but are 
rarely seen," Woolery points out, "and putting 
them side by side with more recognized film- 
makers will give them that opportunity to be 
seen." MIFS can be contacted at Box 32893. 
Kansas City, Missouri 641 1 1: (816) 931-2665. 

RT 



5 West 20th St. 5th Floor, New York, New York 10011 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 




£ 




3HL 



8MM VIDEO COOKING 
AT THE KITCHEN 

A new resource for 8mm video producers has just 
been launched by the New York-based Kitchen 
multi-art center and the 8mm Video Council, a 
nonprofit trade association representing video 
hardware, software, blank tape, accessory suppli- 
ers, retailers, and other related businesses. For the 
first time, emerging videomakers will have access 
to free hardware through the Video 8 Equipment 
Loan Program "to explore the 8mm video tech- 
nology in creative ways," according to the Kitch- 
en's press release. 

The five-month loan program will begin on 
May 1. with recipients selected by the Kitchen 
from applications solicited from around the coun- 
try. The program is open to all styles, including 
documentary, animation, narrative, advocacy, 
and other experimental projects. Awardees will 
be able to use 8mm video packages loaned by the 
manufacturers in the council, and their completed 
works will be considered for exhibition in the 
Kitchen's Video Viewing Room season for 1 988- 
89. 

The program was initiated last year by the 
Kitchen and the 8mm Video Council, which al- 
ready runs an equipment loan program to univer- 
sities. "We wanted to direct this program to artists 
because we believe it is a viable, affordable for- 
mat for them," says Council spokesperson Mi- 
chelle Marin. "Artists will push the format be- 
yond a standard, routine understanding. We rec- 
ognize that anything in mass culture usually has 
its start with artists, and we're looking for them to 
explore and expand the 8mm video technology." 
For information on the next program deadline, 
contact the Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, New 
York, New York 1001 1; (212) 255-5793. 

RT 



JAYLEYDA, 1910-1988 

Jay Leyda, film scholar, teacher, and filmmaker, 
died in New York on February 1 5 at age 78. Since 
the 1930s Leyda acted as an important link be- 
tween the Soviet Union, China, and the U.S. film 
community, particularly through his translations 
of Sergei Eisenstein's writings, such as Film 
Sense ( 1 942) and Film Form ( 1 949), and through 
his own books and articles on Soviet and Chinese 
cinema. Leyda's seminal works — Kino: A His- 
tory of the Russian and Soviet Film ( 1 960), Eisen- 
stein at Work (1980), with Zina Voynow, and 
Dianying: Electric Shadows: An Account of Films 
and the Film Audience in China ( 1 972) — remain 
influential texts for film scholars and students 
today. His other major works include Films Beget 
Films: A Study of the Compilation Film (1964), 
The Melville Log, Sergei Rachmaninoff: A Life- 
time in Music, and The Years and Hours of Emily 
Dickinson. 

Leyda began his career in 1929 as a photogra- 



mvmvwwt 

J LL/ \M1 UU UJ UU W Hi UU UU W UU V 



ViPs Face 
Reality 



ViP high-output, low-wattage 

little lights exploit today's 

fast films, lenses, video cameras, 

and multiple power sources. 

They make high-quality, 
low-budget shoots a reality. 












K C C 




o 


AUDIO/VIDE O 


HARMONY,S>w. -accordance, 
concord, concurrence,unison, 
understanding. 

WE KNOW HOW TO 
WORK WITH YOU. 

CMX ON-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM to 1" 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM PRODUCTION 

21' X 54' SOUND STAGE 

Contact Terri 
(212)228-3063 

31 BOND STREET N.Y., N.Y. 10012 



Lowel -Light Manufacturing, Inc. 

475 Tenth Avenue 
NY, NY 10018-1197. 212-947-0950. 




MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 5 



CODE 16 

16 MM EDGE NUMBERING 

* Codes Every 16 Frames 

* Prints on 4// 16 MM Stock Including Polyester 

* Clearest, Easiest to Read Numerals Anywhere 

* Your Choice of Four Colors 

Lowest Prices Anywhere 

i,oooft $ 9.00 

Polyester Track 

i,oooft $10.00 



Let CODE 16 Sync up your dailies — 
low rates — call for information 

For any size job call 496-1 118 

Same day service— Weekends & rush hours possible 

21 W. 86 th St. 

Monday - Friday 10-5 



AFFORDABLE EDITING 
IN MIDTOWN 

EDIT YOURSELF: 

$20 an hour 
$100 a day 
$400 a week 

EDITOR AVAILABLE . 

TOP OF THE LINE VHS SYSTEM. 
PANASONIC AG6500 WITH HI-FI 
STEREO AND MIXING BOARD. 
PERFECT FOR BETA AND 3/4" 
ROUGH CUTS AND INDUSTRIAL 
FINE CUTS. 

AVAILABLE NOW! 



NEW 

ATLANTIC 

PRODUCTIONS 



330 West 42nd St. NY, NY 10036 
Tel: 967 1690 




Video Cassette Duplication 



16mm Editing Roon 
iterlock Screening Roorr 



GUARANTEED FOR MASTERING 
3/4" Used Video Cassettes 

NEW, MAJOR BRAND VIDEO CASSETTES 
AT DISCOUNT PRICES 



Scotch 'n Kodak 

AFTER HOURS/ 

'■L'.f .STOCK VIDEO TAPE AUDIO TAPE" LEADER s SUPPLIES 

RAFIK 475-7884 




pher and darkroom assistant to Ralph Steiner. 
Within the next few years both became active in 
the New York branch of the Film and Photo 
League. Leyda's first film, the short A Bronx 
Morning (1932). paved the way for him to travel 
to the Soviet Union on a film fellowship. He re- 
mained there from 1933 to 1936, enrolling in the 
Moscow State Film School and becoming the 
only U.S. citizen to study under Eisenstein. Leyda 
became Eisenstein's assistant director on Bezhim 
Meadow, which was banned and destroyed during 
the Second World War. 

During those years in Moscow Leyda stayed in 
touch with Steiner and other members of the FPL. 
conveying information and ideas back and forth 
between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Eisen- 
stein's classroom exercises, which Leyda had 
described to his colleagues, were introduced into 
FPL workshops. On the fifteenth anniversary of 
Soviet cinema in 1935, Leyda edited a special 
Russian issue of New Theater, a publication 
aligned with the FPL, which included translations 
of Eisenstein's writings. 

Upon his return to the U.S., Leyda was hired as 
assistant film curator by the newly formed De- 
partment of Film at the Museum of Modern Art. 
He composed program notes for MoMA's film 
screenings and published occasional articles. 
During this time he was also active in Frontier 
Films, a progressive production company- 
spawned by the loosely knit Nykino film collec- 
tive, itself an offshoot of the Film and Photo 
League. Leyda's involvement with Frontier Films 
centered around three films. He assisted with the 
musical arrangement for their first work. Heart of 
Spain (1937), on the Spanish Civil War. That 
same year Leyda co-edited China Strikes Back, an 
influential and widely seen film which contained 
the first film footage of Mao Zedong's Eighth 
Route forces in Yenan that had been smuggled 
into the U.S. Leyda also co-edited People of Cum- 
berland (1938), a film on the unionization of the 
Cumberland Mountain people by a local labor 
college. 

Leyda subsequently helped form the Associa- 
tion of Documentary Film Producers in 1939 and 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



Jay Leyda, eminent film historian 
and Pinewood Professor at New 
York University, died last February 
at age 78. 

Photo: Robert Haller 



served as the chair of its education committee. 
Both the Association and Frontier Films were 
effectively dissolved by the Second World War 
and the accompanying changes in political cli- 
mate and film production opportunities. During 
the war years Leyda worked in Hollywood on 
such films as The Bridge of San Luis Rev and 
Mission to Moscow. 

Subsequently Leyda occupied posts at the 
Staatliches Filmarchive. East Berlin, the Chinese 
Film Archive, Peking, the British Film Institute, 
the Cinematheque Francaise, Yale University, 
and York University in Toronto. From 1973 until 
his death, he was Pinewood Professor of Cinema 
Studies at New York University. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 



HUGH ROBERTSON, 
1932-1988 

Hugh Robertson, one of the first Black indepen- 
dent filmmakers to establish himself as a major 
feature film editor and director, died last January 
of cancer in the Wadsworth Memorial Center in 
Los Angeles. He was 55 years old. Fame in 
Robertson's career came in 1969 when John 
Schlesinger hired him to edit Midnight Cowboy, 
for which he was nom inated for both an American 
Academy Award and a British Academy Award. 
He succeeded in obtaining the British Oscar. 

Bom in Brooklyn of Jamaican parents, Robert- 
son first learned the craft of film editing and 
television production in the Signal Corps during 
World War Two. He later studied at the New 
Institute for Motion Pictures and Television in 
New York, the University of Paris (Sorbonne), 
and with Elia Kazan at the Negro Actors Guild. 

Robertson's rare gift of creative workmanship 
in Midnight Cowboy clearly established his talent 
as a film editor. But. since being a film director 
had always been his ambition, he actively sought 
opportunities to actualize this ability. In 1971, 
Robertson caught the attention of MGM studios, 
which agreed to let him direct his own film upon 
agreement to edit Shaft, the mystery-detective 
thriller with the Oscar award-winning score by 
Isaac Hayes, directed by Gordon Parks Sr. During 
the seventies, when Black independent film- 
makers such as Parks. Melvin Van Peebles, and 
Bill Gunn were gaining access to a film industry 
heretofore prohibited to Blacks, Robertson made 
his Hollywood directorial debut in 1972 with 
Melinda. 

Robertson was inducted into the Black Film- 
makers Hall of Fame in 1 982 and served as a guest 
instructor lor the Independent Filmmakers Work- 
shop sponsored by the organization. The work- 



shop was a training ground for young independent 
filmmakers seeking careers in film and television. 
Robertson's last feature film Obeah, a horror 
story of the star-crossed desire of two young 
lovers set against the background of voodoo 
mysticism in the Caribbean, was completed 
shortly before his untimely passing and premiered 
at the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in October 
1987. 

JOHN WILLIAMS 

John Williams, a scholar of independent film- 
making, is a contribute)' to Cinemaction, Dis- 
course, and other publications. 

SEQUELS 

At its March 15 meeting the board of directors of 
the Corporation for Public Broadcasting adopted 
a Statement of Principles of Editorial and Artistic 
Integrity, intended to remove the board from any 
direct supervision of the selection process of 
CPB's Program Fund. This action addresses con- 
cerns raised in 1986, when then board member 
Richard Brookhiser proposed a content analysis 
of public affairs programs aired by the Public 
Broadcasting Service ["Board in Flames: Conser- 
vatives Take Control at CPB," January /February 
1 987]. Brookhiser's plan was widely criticized as 
an attempt to restrict CPB grants to controversial 
programs and cater to right-wing critics of CPB 
and PBS, such as Accuracy in Media. After con- 
siderable debate the proposal was rejected, and 
Brookhiser subsequently declined renomination 
to the board. 

The Independent Feature Project, based in New 
York City, has appointed Peggy Hubble as execu- 
tive director. Prior to assuming her post at IFP. 
Hubble worked for PBS. most currently acting as 
director of Development and National Relations. 



MOVING? 
LET US KNOW. 

It takes four to six weeks 

to process an address 

change, so please notify 

us in advance. 



Why does 

RCR 
Advertising 

use F/VA? 




Gil Rentas, President 
RCR Productions & Advertising 



"We take a video camera and crew 
from Film/Video Arts whenever 
we go on location. Their techs 
always deliver excellent results. 

"Our clients— Spanish-language 
television advertisers — have been 
so satisfied with our work that 
they've spread the word about us. 
Now we are expanding into the 
Anglo market. 

"On location, F/VA is a good shot. 
They've helped us succeed." 

—Gil Rentas 

Visit Film / Video Arts or call 
for an appointment with 

Jeff Marino 

industry Services Manager 

212-673-9361 

F/VA AND INDEPENDENTS: 
WORKING TOGETHER 
FOR TWENTY YEARS 

8I7 Broadway at 1 2th Street 
New York City 10003 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 7 



FIELD REPORT 



A DIFFERENT DRUMMER: 
CHICAGO'S "LABOR BEAT 



// 




Virginia Keller interviews 
United Farm Workers 
organizer Frank Ortiz for 
Labor Beat. 

Photo: Steve Dalber 



Amy Killinger 



Over the years, broadcast television has portrayed 
America's workers as comically myopic charac- 
ters whose concerns run from keeping their bellies 
bloated to fantasizing get-rich-quick schemes. 
We have been treated to the opportunism of Ralph 
Kramden, the rueful machismo and racism of 
Archie Bunker, and the dizzy-headed high-jinks 
of Laverne and Shirley. This image of working 
people has been abetted by network news, which 
reluctantly casts the spotlight on the U.S. labor 
force. Strikers make good visuals on the evening 
news, but while management is allowed to prattle, 
workers' views often go unheard in this age of 
Reagan-endorsed union busting. 

But labor has started to fight back on cable TV. 
More and more union and labor groups around the 
country have begun to take advantage of their 
local public access channels. Eloise Payne of the 
Washington D.C.-based Labor Institute of Public 
Affairs estimates that 45 locals and labor councils 



around the country are producing and renting 
tapes to show on public access channels. In addi- 
tion, increasing numbers of independent public 
access producers are creating programming about 
labor. An independently produced labor series has 
aired on public access channels in Grand Rapids 
since 1 983, and labor programs can also be seen in 
San Francisco. Pittsburgh, and Nashville. 

One of the most interesting public access labor 
series being produced is a relative newcomer. In 
November 1986 Chicago's Committee for Labor 
Access began programming Labor Beat on the 
local public access channel. Described by one of 
the producers as a series for working people, the 
half-hour weekly program gave the city its first 
taste of labor-oriented television. Since then. 
Labor Beat was chosen as one of four finalists for 
the Hometown U.S.A. Award, the National Fed- 
eration of Local Cable Programmers' annual 
prize for the best public access cable TV series, 
and won an award at the International Network of 
Progressive Film and Video Festival. 

Labor Beat has also garnered acclaim from 



unions and independent producers. Laurie 
Townsend. who covers labor television for Labor 
Notes, a publication of the United Auto Workers, 
has found positive reactions to Labor Beat among 
union members. Townsend says the show brings 
the labor community together by regularly cover- 
ing issues that usually go unexplored. Gordon 
Quinn, former board member of the Chicago 
Access Corporation and an independent producer 
of social and labor issue films, has called the series 
"the best thing on cable access." He believes, 
"They are building an audience better than any- 
body else in Chicago." 

The Committee for Labor Access was formed 
in 1 983 by Larry Duncan and four other indepen- 
dent producers to monitor hearings on Chicago's 
cable franchise. The group's specific purpose was 
to lobby for a labor channel. When that did not, 
materialize, the group decided to develop a public 
access labor series. In the fall of 1986. when 
Chicago's public access facility began operating. 
Labor Beat was among the first shows produced. 
Since then, diversity has become the series' hall- 
mark, both in topic and style. In part, this is due to 
the diversity of the 12 committee members, 
whose backgrounds range from public school 
teaching to theater to filmmaking. Some are union 
members. Some are veteran public access produc- 
ers. Some committee members, like Julie John- 
son, a secretary and former public school teacher, 
never picked up a video camera until they joined 
the group. 

The committee chooses its subjects by vote. 
"There's a lot of exchange going on because we 
do have a lot of disagreement," Johnson says. 
Once shows are agreed upon, two board members 
act as producers for the program, reporting back to 
the committee as the project progresses. The se- 
ries has covered several local strikes and union 
conferences. But it also has touched on topics 
such as unions dealing with the homeless and the 
economic effects of Star Wars military produc- 
tion on workers. An interview with a Filipino 
union leader, a speech by Nicaraguan president 
Daniel Ortega in Chicago, and a lecture by jour- 
nalist Alexander Cockburn on big business and 
the media have been included in the series. 

However, Labor Beat does not offer these 
programs in a vacuum. "What we try to do. be- 
sides just presenting a document of the situation, 
is to present an analysis of it too." explains Bob 
Hercules, one of the program's producers. Often 
producers either write their own conclusions 
concerning the events they cover or ask outside 
commentators to voice their views — without the 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



typical mediation of a reporter or interviewer. In 
a program on the recent NBC strike. Labor Beat 
producers included Jesse Jackson's analysis of 
the conflict after he spent a day on the picket line. 
Sometimes atypical experts — workers — perform 
the analysis. A tape on organizing college clerical 
workers included a panel discussion with secre- 
taries and an interview with one who works at a 
local college where organizing efforts had failed. 
"We're conscious of letting people say it in their 
own words," says Keller. As Johnson points out, 
if you let the workers talk, the program becomes 
theirs. 

The program's scope is also due, in part, to the 
committee's independence from any specific 
union. This leaves Labor Beat free to cover a 
range of labor-related issues, including contro- 
versies within the labor movement. The commit- 
tee recently decided to do a program on the dis- 
pute between the Chicago Board of Education and 
several trade unions over the administration of a 
local trade school. The Board had accused the 
unions of discriminating against minority stu- 
dents. "We realize there are a lot of differences of 
opinion in labor." says Duncan. He describes the 
committee as labor advocates, but adds, "We 
don't have a political line outside of supporting 
the labor movement." As producer Ginny Keller 
puts it, "We just don't back any union because 
they are a union. If the Teamsters came to us, that 
would be a hard question." 

Yet Labor Beat producers have made outreach 
programs for unions on how to use public access 
and have often worked with labor organizations 
on the series. The tape on part-time college teach- 
ers organizing was screened for the subjects in 
order to elicit their suggestions. The Committee 
also collaborated with Kinfolk, a local rank and 
file group at Oscar Mayer Foods, on a tape on 
crises in the meat packing industry. According to 
Alan Rausch of Kinfolk, that tape became a means 
of communication for the local, which comprises 
over 100 meat packing factories in the Chicago 
area. "It allowed us to organize inside the plant 
from the outside," says Rausch. When the Na- 
tional Association of Broadcast and Electronic 
Technicians struck NBC, the Chicago local called 
Labor Beat and asked them to cover it. As is often 
the case. Labor Beat was one of the few camera 
crews at the strike. The only other was an NBC 
crew of strikebreakers. Ironically, NBC later 
called Labor Beat and asked to air their footage 
because what the temporary network crew had 
shot was unusable. 

The spectrum of labor issues presented by 
Labor Beat is also calculated to attract non-union 
viewers to the program. "We're trying to reach as 
wide an audience as possible." Hercules states. 
But he and the other producers realize that to 
attract a wide audience the programs must make 
labor visually exciting. "To get a message out in 
this society you have to be as lively as possible," 
Hercules notes. The committee's producers have 
used a mixture of techniques to make the show 
appealing, including computer graphics, live 



footage, and dramatic reconstructions. Graphics, 
as well as stock footage taken from network TV, 
are intermixed with studio shots to keep a fast 
pace. In the series' first program, Labor and the 
Media, the camera opens on a studio shot of a man 
reading from a script. The camera then quickly 
cuts to scenes, such as the hurly burly of Wall 
Street, that illustrate the voiceover which de- 
scribes the evolution of the negative image of 
labor in the popular media. 

Live footage of strikes and labor rallies some- 
times make up whole programs. Or, as with the 
computer graphics, live footage is used to break 
up the monotony of studio shots. The Road to 
Haymarket, which gives an account of the eight- 
hour day movement, combines dramatic recon- 
structions of the famous riot with a montage of 
historical photographs. The docudrama opens 
with current shots of the Chicago factory building 
where the riot took place, then moves to a darkly- 
lit scene in which actors portray workers secretly 
listening to a union agitator. Dramatic skits have 
also been used in Labor Relations: The New Fall 
Season, an analytical satire of the drug testing 
mania, and The Image Maker, which portrays the 
antics of a union-busting lawyer. However, be- 
cause almost all of the programs are produced for 
a few hundred dollars or less, productions are 
sometimes limited to studio shots. For The Fan- 
tasy and Reality of Star Wars, producer Ginny 
Keller shot a studio discussion with scientists and 
technicians working in the defense industry. 

Because the committee has no way to assess 
how big the local viewing audience for Labor 
Beat is, they have begun to promote and distribute 
their programs to other public access channels. 
Cable systems in St. Louis, Evanston, and Austin 
began cablecasting the program last fall, while 
systems in West Hollywood and La Jolla are 
considering ordering the series. But the cost of 
distribution raised the expenses for Labor Beat, 
which were previously out of the producers' 
pockets. To cover the extra costs the committee 
has begun to look for outside donations. They 
have raised money at screenings of their tapes and 
asked union groups for funding. Earlier this year, 
they received about $200 from a showing of The 
Road to Haymarket. "Given the shows don't cost 
much, that goes a. long way." Hercules says. 

As coordinator of the labor program in the next 
Deep Dish series that will be cablecast via satellite 
in the spring — Is This Working? Labor in the 
Eighties — the committee hopes to expand the 
network of labor television producers across the 
country. "We'd like to see other people out there 
doing the same thing." Duncan says. "We're not 
trying to get a corner on the market." 











K C C 




& 


All DIO/VIDFO 


SKILLFUL,S>w.-able, adept, 
clever,competent, expert, 
ingenious, practiced, proficient. 

WE KNOW HOW TO 
WORK WITH YOU. 

CMX ON-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM to I " 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM PRODUCTION 

21' X 54' SOUND STAGE 

Contact Terri 
(212)228-3063 

31 BOND STREET N.Y., N.Y. 10012 



Amy Killinger is reporter for the Burlington Free 
Press in Vermont. 




FOOTAGE. 

It's just a phone call away. 
Footage from silent films, 
feature films, newsreels, doc- 
umentaries, industrial films 
and more. Fully cleared for 
use in your productions. 

Our computerized system 
assures fast access. Call or 
write for a free brochure and 
sample reel. 



Archive Film 

Productions, hie 

Stock Footage Library 
212/620-3955 

Dept. 1, 530 West 25th Street 

New York, NY 10001 ISA 

Fax 212/645-2137 Telex: 822023 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 9 



BRIGHT MOMENTS 




Black Journal 
executive editor Lou 
Potter (left) and 
executive producer 
William Greaves at a 
press conference 
following the series' 
first successful 
season. 

All photos courtesy author 



St. Clair Bourne 



This spring will mark my twentieth year as an independent producer/ 
director working with both film and video. When I was invited to a 
symposium at the Hawaiian International Film Festival and asked to prepare 
a paper about the African-American image in media, I began to think about 
my own experiences, the social conditions that existed when I started and, 
in fact, how both images and conditions have changed — and not changed — 
since I started making films. 

Let me begin by stating the obvious: images in U.S. media — not just 
images of Blacks, but all images — are highly influenced by the political 
conditions of the times. Moreover, Black images have not been and still are 
not controlled by Black producers, and, therefore, these images were 
created to serve the psychic purposes of those that do control them. Because 
Europeans originally brought Africans here as slaves to provide service and 
labor and nothing. more, the representations of these slaves were used to 
rationalize and reinforce their intended place in society. Thus, racial 
stereotypes came to symbolize the mental restructuring of the African 
presence in America. 

My own beginning in filmmaking as a memberof the production staff of 
the Black Journal public television series in 1 968 is due as much to the social 
conditions of the times as to my own energy. During those days, there was 
general active unrest among the African-American population, due to 
discrimination and treatment as second-class citizens. The Civil Rights 
Movement, based on the principles of nonviolence and petitions to the 
larger society for justice, was beginning to run its course as the marchers and 
activists were thwarted by violent resistance and government inaction. In 



addition, the energy and frustration with the slow rate of fundamental 
change moved from the rural towns of the South to the inner cities of the 
major urban centers in the North. Thus, planned and spontaneous rebellions, 
usually sparked by a symbolic incident but also caused by a long list of 
unjust conditions, erupted in the cities where there were large Black 
populations like Detroit, Newark, and the Watts section of Los Angeles. 

In addition to being subjected to discrimination. Black people especially 
resented the lack of acknowledged participation in and contributions to U.S. 
society. A specific complaint was the lack of presence in the electronic 
media and the negative distortion that took place when we were represented. 
Therefore, programs, funds, and positions were made available to provide 
media access for Black images so that Black issues could be addressed. It 
should be noted that these changes, welcomed by Afro- Americans because 
of their belief in the power of the media, were not made out of charity, 
benevolence or good-will, but rather were the result of pressure by the 
revolutionary potential of the Black protest movement, pressure from the 
people in the streets who disrupted the normal flow of business and 
demanded in one form or another — some with bricks, others with pencils — 
a share in social processes as they perceived them. 

It was from these conditions that the Black Journal series was created 
within the tax-supported public television sector. Alvin Perlmutter. a white 
staff producer at National Educational Television (the pre-Public Broad- 
casting Service public TV system), conceived of the series idea in April 
1968 following the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The idea was 
enthusiastically approved as an overdue response to both the Kerner 
Commission report on U.S. race relations, which called for the media to 
"expand and intensify coverage of the Negro community." and to the 
arowins mood for self-determination in Black communities around the 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



The Black Journal Series 



country. Perlmutter and Black producer/writer Lou Potter were assigned to 
develop a format and to secure a staff. 

After extensive meetings with both leaders and ordinary folks in Black 
communities around the country, a public affairs-oriented, magazine- 
format program was decided upon. Then a staff composed of both NET 
personnel and others hired specifically for Black Journal was assembled. I 
was a graduate film student at Columbia University at the time but had been 
recently suspended due to my involvement in the 1 968 Columbia University 
student takeover. Fresh from the barricades and a night in jail, I was 
interviewed and hired by NET as an associate producer. At this point, there 
emerged a basic contradiction that later came back to traumatize this effort. 
The NET public relations department heralded the series in their press 
releases as programs "by, for and about Black people," but, although two 
Black on-camera hosts — independent filmmaker William Greaves and 
former Chicago radio news reporter Lou House (who later changed his 
"slave" name to an African name, Wali Sadiq) — were hired, the staff ended 
up with 1 2 Blacks out of a staff of 20. More important, Perlmutter, who was 
white, became the executive producer with editorial control for the series. 

The series went into active production in May. had its premiere broadcast 
in June 1 968, and was greeted by both critical acclaim and an unprecedented 
(for public television) viewer response. The first show's segments consisted 
of an interview from an Oakland prison with Huey Newton on the future of 
the Black Panthers, a report on the Poor Peoples' Campaign in Washington, 
D.C., a satirical skit about the use of Blacks in advertisements, an essay on 
the view of the future by graduating Black college seniors, a profile of a 
Harlem-based manufacturer of African style clothing, a portrait of a Black 
jockey, and coverage of a Coretta King address at Harvard University. 

Despite the immediate public success of the series, certain questions still 
had to be addressed: Who was the primary audience — Blacks, whites, or an 
integrated audience? Did this decision affect the content of the program and 
how? Was the use of largely white film crews a contradiction to the stated 
goals of Black Journal? Little by little, questions of assignments and 
editorial points of view became points of dispute among the staff. For 
example, when a breakdown of the percentage of white-produced shows to 
Black-produced shows was done, it was discovered that the former far 
outnumbered the latter. Disagreements over editorial politics emerged as 
well. When a white producer wrote a news piece introduction stating that the 
Black community supported Israel and disavowed Arab protests over the 
seizure of land, an argument broke out in the studio during the taping and 
was quelled only after the narration was rewritten. 

The issue came to a head when 1 1 Black members of the production staff 
demanded that the white executive producer be replaced by a Black 
executive producer, citing the NET press statement that Black Journal was 
produced "by, for and about Black people." When the NET management 
refused to appoint Lou Potter, the series' managing editor, as the executive 
producer, the 1 1 went out on strike in protest and made the incident public 
in a press conference. In an article printed in Variety, NET's management 
claimed that its intention was "to promote from within the unit and to 
increase the Black composition of the unit as quickly as staff members were 
ready for advancement." Wire services, trade papers, and mainstream 
media columnists wrote extensively about the strike, and within a week 
NET agreed to the demands. Greaves, the show's host, became the new 
executive producer. Perlmutter became a consultant with no editorial 
power. Potter was given the new position of executive editor and the option 
of working on other NET projects, and most of the other white producers 
were phased out to return to other NET commitments. (Phil Burton 
remained as the sole white producer and did several excellent pieces.) 

After this traumatic experience, several changes took place. The group 



St. Clair Bourne 
began his profes- 
sional filmmaking 
career as a staff 
producer for NET'S 

Black Journal in 
1968, shortly after 
being suspended 

from Columbia 
University for 

participating in 
campus protests. 



Black Journal editor 

Madeline Anderson 

and producer Kent 

Garrett talk to the 

press at the end of the 

program's 1968 

season. Anderson 

later became the first 

Black woman 

producer at NET. 




spirit of the Black Journal staff took on an added commitment to "the 
people," but also, because of the well-publ icized struggle around the control 
of the show, we gained support from leaders of the national Black commu- 
nity. Furthermore, we gained a sizeable white audience who wanted to see 
what all the noise had been about. Interestingly, the overall white reaction 
was not as antagonistic as we expected, primarily because we didn't use our 
airtime denouncing white racism (that it existed was given) but rather 
documenting, exploring, and articulating African-American political, eco- 
nomic, and cultural issues. With only one hour per month of Bku k Journal 
programming competing with the infinite hours of "White Journals." we 
thought that we shouldn't waste time ranting against whites, because our 
mission was to supply Black people with valuable information and anal) sis. 
Another important change that occurred after the strike was staff editor 
Madeline Anderson's promotion to producer, the staff's first Black w oman 
producer. Although there had been a white female producer and Black 
women had served as production assistants, editors, and researchers, there 
had never been a Black female producer at NET. 

The process of making a Black Journal documentary usuall) involved 
selecting a topic culled from personal contacts or from the library filled w ith 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 11 




Horace Jenkins worked as an associate producer on 
NET's science program Spectrum before joining 
Black Journal as a producer. 



Far right: Black Journal co-host Lou House interviews 

the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, leader of the 

Nation of Islam, in his Chicago home. The Black 

Journal segment featuring Muhammad was the first 

extensive appearance of the prominent Black 

leader on U.S. television. 



Right: Bourne (right) confers with cinematographer 

Ray Lewis at Your Supermarket, a Chicago chain 

store operated by the Nation of Islam, during 

production of a Black Journal program. 



various Black newspapers from around the country. This was discussed at 
the weekly editorial meeting (which was rarely fully attended since some- 
one was always out in the field). The producer, sometimes aided by an 
overworked staff researcher, then researched background and often flew to 
continue this work on location, never for more than four to five days. Upon 
his or her return, a script was written and budgeted, and within two weeks 
or so the producer and crew flew back to shoot. The editing process rarely 
took more than two or three weeks, and the documentary, which could range 
from 10 to 30 minutes, often aired on the next program. 

We considered ourselves in the cultural vanguard, and, in a way, we were 
because we were the first and only national Black public affairs series on the 
air. In hindsight, it was executive producer Greaves who set that tone of 
being the sole electronic representative of the "movement." A Harlem-born 
actor-turned-filmmaker. Greaves had worked with the Canadian Film 
Board in the 1950s to escape the absence of opportunities he faced in this 
country, and he returned with production experience and a sense of 
responsibility that he took very seriously. 

In our editorial meetings. Greaves laid out the editorial guidelines that 
came to distinguish and unify ourcontent. Black Journal, he stated, should: 
1. define the Black reality of any potential film situation, 2. identify the 
causes of any problems in that situation, and 3. document attempts to resolve 
those problems, whether successful or not. In this way. Greaves believed, 
each short documentary would be a teaching tool on how Black people could 
work to resolve common problems. Films about important cultural, politi- 
cal, and educational figures should document their existence within a 
society whose history almost always excluded them. Greaves knew what we 
younger staff members didn't: this filmmaking opportunity would not last 
but the films would. 

Because of the unique national position of Black Journal within the 
media landscape during 1968 to 1971. we undertook several projects to 
improve so-called "minority" (what we called Third World) participation. 
Even our own producers on the series relied on largely white crews because 
there were extremely few Third World freelance technicians, due to the 
difficulty of finding work regularly and thus gaining experience and skill. 
The Black Journal Film Workshop was created to fill this void. Word soon 
got around that a 1 0-week crash course in basic film production was being 
offered and that accomplished graduates could possibly get camera crew 
assignments. The instructors were both Black and white technicians who 
volunteered their time to teach the new recruits. This created a pool of Third 
World technicians who began to work on not only Black Journal documen- 
taries but. armed with sample reels, began to get work on other productions 
as well. Ultimately, Peggy Pinn, staff production coordinator, quit that post, 
raised money for staff and equipment, and managed the Film Workshop for 
five years, training hundreds of Third World technicians, many of whom 
still work in the film and television industries. 

Film critic and historian Clyde Taylor has written extensively about 



contemporary independent filmmaking and the influence of the style of 
Black Journal on the editorial tone and the documentary images used to 
define Black issues. Previously, television would rarely, if ever, present 
material from a Black participant's point of view. A white commentator 
always interpreted for the audience what "those people want." either 
through narration or an on-camera appearance. This was standard television 
news procedure. At Black Journal we insisted that the people in our films 
speak for themselves as much as possible and, if narration was used, that the 
narrator assume a tone of advocacy. There was also a strong cultural 
identification with Africa, which was a part of the reassertion of the 
movement's African roots and cultural values; for example, the show's 
hosts often wore African dress, and African drumming was used as intro 
music. 

At that time — again, because of the political climate — a constituency 
was created for this new Black programming or as it began to be called, 
"minority programming." As we saw it, the purpose of "minority program- 
ming" in the public affairs sector of television news was clear — to provide 
the so-called "minorities" with an opportunity to address each other on 
issues that they considered important. In addition to Black Journal, there 
was a series called Soul!, an entertainment program that provided a forum 
for performers who had virtually been ignored by mainstream television. 
It's hard to imagine it in this era of Bill Cosby, but there was a time when 
one could look long and hard without seeing a Black face on any TV 
program. Then came Black Journal and an explosion of local public affairs 
shows aimed at the so-called "minority" audience. 

Both of these pioneering programs performed a necessary function quite 
effectively but were created as a response to an admitted deficiency: to serve 
an audience that had never been adequately addressed directly before. The 
programs and their imitators could be called "the first generation of minority 
programming." If there was a flaw in this first effort, it was a narrowness of 
vision that could not be avoided at that time. By addressing Blacks about 
Blacks only, for example, a large part of the viewing audience was excluded, 
but more importantly, the role of so-called "minorities" within the total 
framework of U.S. society and culture was ignored. 

The second generation of "minority" programming — based on the prem- 
ise that in the beginning it had been necessary to affirm our culture — 
attempted to correct some of these unavoidable limitations. An example of 
this corrective programming was a PBS program called Interface, which 
showed the interaction of various cultures in the U.S. by tackling topics 
based in everyday life. Developed by Black producer/writer Ardie Ivie and 
hosted by Black Journal graduate Tony Batten, Interface concentrated on 
ethnic group interactions but also limited itself to a certain aspect of life in 
the United States, namely, cultural (in the anthropological sense) interac- 
tion. At the same time, another program. Black Perspective on the News, 
took a "hard news" approach and opened its list of guests to all the races, 
with the understanding that all people in this country can be affected by a 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 




variety of newsmakers of all skin colors. However, the news format 
prevented the viewer from receiving a multi-dimensional understanding of 
the issues covered. In short, we still spoke to Blacks but about non-Black 
issues as well as Black issues. 

The next step which should have been taken would have featured Blacks 
as participants in U.S. society talking about any issue, that is, a view and 
interpretation of issues based in the so-called "minority" experience but 
treating issues, trends, and phenomena not necessarily connected to "minor- 
ity" life. This would bring an unjaded eye to not only institutions of special 
interest to "minorities" but also to those institutions that affect everyone as 
well, for it must be understood that all things in the U.S. affect all people in 
the U.S. in some way. However, this phase never developed fully, primarily 
because of the political resurgence of right-wing conservatives, calculated 
attacks by the Nixon and Reagan administrations to stop and, in fact, roll 
back the social advances that people have struggled to achieve, and. most 
important, the lack of Black participation in decision-making within the 
political and economic process. 

The life of Black Journal was closely allied to the Black movement that 
gave birth to it. And so, as money for social programs began to be cut back 
in the early seventies. Black Journal's production budget was reduced from 
S 1 00,000 a program to S50.000 a program by the NET management. To 
compensate, on-location documentaries were cut back, more in-studio 
production was done, and summer reruns were instituted. Appeals were 
made to foundations, corporations, and community organizations for pro- 
duction funds, but the change in the political agenda affected the ability and/ 
or willingness to contribute to a television series that advocated social 
change. 

As the production funds decreased, it became more difficult to maintain 
the high standard with which we started, so, little by little, the staff began 
seeking other avenues for their their ideas and talent. Greaves, who had his 
own production company before he joined the Black Journal staff, resigned. 
Other producers appl ied for and got jobs at network news departments. I left 
in April 1971 to pursue more personal and more stylized film projects. 
Several months later. Tony Brown became the new executive producer and 
began experimenting with formats that would attract financial underwrit- 
ing. After several format changes ranging from a game show to a Carson- 
type talk show to a variety entertainment show. Brown changed the name 
of the series to Tony Brown's Journal; he continues as executive producer/ 
host to this day. As one of six staff producers for the series. I spent almost 
three years traveling around the U.S. making documentaries about various 
aspects and issues of Black America. It is a lesson that I have never 
forgotten — that as a filmmaker or film artist, my source comes from the 
audience that I hope to serve. Of course, my understanding of what this 
means became more complicated as time went on. 

The political swing to the right and the deterioration of the economic 
system that occurred in the past decade and a half affected Black filmmakers 



more than their white counterparts. In the Black independent production 
sector, an area that has always always been difficult to sustain, alternative 
sources like public television, foundation grants, and other special pro- 
grams have decreased. Furthermore, the dominance of the right-wing has 
reduced the range of "producible subjects" and acceptable images. This, in 
turn, has created a wave of escapist images and stories that distort and/or 
reinterpret any creative elements that might seriously challenge the world 
view of those who control the principle resources. 

Despite these major obstacles — obstacles that affect all independent 
producers, not just black filmmakers — Black history in this country has 
proven that we have been strong in our cultural expression, and. after all. 
film and television are indeed that. The social movement that engendered 
the Black Journal series did achieve some of its aims in terms of racial 
identity and a recognition of the need for economic and political self- 
determination. Overall, we are no longer obliged to prove our worth or 
validity on either the small or large screen. Be prepared, then, to see images 
of Black people created not to react against a falsehood but rather to expand 
the understanding of who we are in this country and. indeed, in the world. 
In two recent documentaries, I went abroad to shoot the activities of 
African-Americans and found that, although previously undocumented in 
film, they carried with them a tradition and a presence that was recognized 
by their foreign hosts. In The Black and the Green, I followed five Black 
American activists as they traveled to Belfast to meet with their Irish 
nationalist counterparts. Their experiences and perceptions about the use of 
violence in social change form the core of the film 's content. However, I was 
amazed about how much the Irish knew about our condition and struggle in 
this country. In another film, Langston Hughes: The Dream Keeper, I 
followed Hughes' wanderings of 60 years ago in France, Spain. Russia, and 
Senegal only to discover that his influence is well-remembered and. in fact, 
beloved by many in those places. Therefore, be prepared to see other 
international renderings of the African descendant on the screen. 

Already, filmmakers of African descent in England and France, as well 
as those in African countries are already producing such films and it is only 
a matter of time before we will see these images on the screens of this 
country. Self-determination is an act of liberation and. in the end. a healthy 
process. Everyone should have the right and opportunit> to see themselves 
reflected in the cultural expressions and the reporting of current events o\ 
the land in which they live. Mainstream television has pro\ en that, up to now 
at least, it is incapable or unwilling to do that, so it is up to us. the 
independents, to fill that vacuum. 



Si. Clair Bourne is a 20-year veteran producer director with over 30 films 

to his credit. 

C I98X Si. Clair Bourne 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



ELECTRONIC 



BACKTALK 



The Art of Interactive Video 



Lucinda Furlong 



:|: : # ? ' ' 




One of Nam June Paik's Participation TV sculptures, 
Magnet 7V(1965), graphically and metaphorically 
demonstrates the possibility of interfering with 
standard television signals. 

Photo: € Peter Moore, courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



Interactive technologies pervade our daily life. From ordinary telephones, 
automated banking machines, home shopping on cable TV. video arcade 
games, and the "point-of-purchase" information and sales kiosks popping 
up in airports and shopping malls — all these systems employ technologies 
that facilitate the exchange of information. The most sophisticated interac- 
tive technology to date is the interactive videodisc. A marriage of computer 
and video technologies, interactive videodiscs have the capacity to store and 
retrieve large quantities of high-quality still and moving images and sound. 
Film, videotape, slide transparencies, and audio can all be transferred, 
mastered, and pressed onto a single disc. Unlike videotape, videodiscs 
provide random access to this data — one can "jump" in a fraction of a second 
from one place to another in the program, eliminating the necessity of 
reversing and fast-forwarding. What's more, one can "park" on a still image 
for an indefinite amount of time without damaging the disc or the machine. 
Since the discs are made of aluminum coated with polyvinylchloride. they 
are much sturdier than film or tape. 

Perhaps the most attractive feature of videodisc technology is the ability 
to control highly realistic film, video, or computer graphic renderings in real 
time. For instance, a well-known early interactive videodisc, The Aspen 
Project created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab 
in 1979, simulated every street, intersection, and building in Aspen. Colo- 
rado, so that one could "drive" through the city taking various routes. No 
doubt, this capability is what made interactive videodisc so appealing to 
NASA and the U.S. military, which originally developed it for flight 
simulators and training purposes. Prototypes of the new Advanced Tactical 
Fighters have been tested in simulators which replicate the sights, sounds, 
and feel of aerial combat. While older simulators could not provide realistic 
scenery, the newer ones can create highly detailed images of the surround- 
ing landscape. According to an article by Andrea Adelson in the New York 
Times, 

Two computers create the external world, including enemy planes and missiles. One 
draws the outline of these objects, based in part on real-world data obtained from 
classified sources. The other computer controls the panorama and adds texture, such 
as pock marks in asphalt or the bolt-pattern of an aircraft wing. 1 

As Adelson points out, simulators, which cost about $20-million. are cheap 
compared to the estimated total cost (not including overruns) of S46.9- 
billion for the 750 jet fighters the Air Force plans to build. 

Consumer and industrial spin-offs of videodisc systems were introduced 
in the early 1980s amid much hoopla. While consumer sales of videodisc 

MAY 1988 



Wipe Cycle (1969), by Frank Gillette and Ira 

Schneider, was a gallery installation consisting of 

closed-cirucit cameras and monitors that involved 

gallery visitors as both audience and participants. 

Courtesy Raindance Foundation 

Douglas Davis in his Double Entendre (1981), a 
radio/television/performance work that incorpo- 
rated a satellite hook-up between the Whitney 
Museum in New York City and the Centre Georges 

Pompidou in Paris. 

Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art 

Frames from Wendy Clarke's The Love Tapes (1977- 

78), a compilation of three-minute soliloquies on 

love by over 800 individuals. 

Courtesy Museum of Modern Art 



players fell far short of industry predictions, the introduction of disc-based 
video games, such as Dragon's Lair in 1983, gave the sagging business a 
shot in the arm. The enormous success of Dragon's Lair, which featured 
recognizable characters, settings, and sound effects, was due to its realism. 2 
But it's only since 1986, when IBM began marketing InfoWindow, an 
interactive training system the company had developed for its own em- 
ployees, that interactive videodisc has become a growth industry. 3 

From 1986 to 1987, analysts predicted a 35 to 45 percent growth in the 
number of interactive videodisc systems, a rate that will probably increase. 
Although not yet as indispensable as the personal computer or the copy 
machine, interactive videodisc systems are making inroads into industrial 
and corporate sales and training programs. Both General Motors and 
Chrysler have interactive "courseware" on hazardous chemicals, a result of 
an Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulation requiring 
training for employees on workplace hazards. This mandate, along with 
IBM's entry into the market, is regarded as one of the key factors in the 
recent surge of interest in interactive courses: it's considered a relatively 
cheap and efficient method. 

In the sales arena, economy and efficiency are also spurring the use of 
videodisc. In 1984, Allegheny International, which owns the Sunbeam and 
Oster product lines, set up Infosource, an interactive kiosk intended to "take 
the consumer's eye off the price tag, and instead focus on unique product 
features, high-quality performance and attractive and efficient design." The 
other advantage, as Allegheny saw it, was the ability to present a consistent 
message about a product. As Diane Kolyer noted in an article in Videog- 
ruphy, "Infosource never gets sick, never gets up on the wrong side of the 
bed. never fumbles or stutters. " J These applications of interactive videodisc 
share a straightforward — and technocratic — conception of interactivity. 
Information can be delivered (and money exchanged) in a consistent 
manner, and at the pace of the individual user. Information is rationalized, 
eliminating the individual quirks of salespeople and teachers — and, in all 
likelihood, their jobs. 

A si ightly different, although no less technocratic, conception of interac- 
tivity informs debates among politicians and social scientists about interac- 
tive communication. Much has been made of the potential for interactive 
technology to revolutionize communication, thereby bolstering democ- 
racy. And most discussions of interactivity assume that interactivity means 
participation, choice, and, above all, communication. However, in Media 
for Interactive Communication Rudy Bretz distinguishes between genu- 
inely interactive systems, in which "each of two (or more) communicants 
responds to the other" and quasi-interactive systems, which involve "data 
response" or Gong Show-lype interactions. s In the latter, mass audiences are 
given a menu of options that appear on their TV screen. The options range 
from choices about the resolution of a TV drama plot to public opinion polls. 
This distinction informs a comparison between the so-called "Reading 
experiment" in interactive television for senior citizens in Reading. Penn- 
sylvania, and Warner-Amex's highly publicized QUBE system in Colum- 
bus, Ohio. These two systems arc prime examples of Bretz' two forms of 




MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 




In their "public interactive sculpture" Hole in Space 
(1980), Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz used a 
satellite link between New York City and Los 
Angeles to establish communications between 
people in the street in both cities. 

Courtesy Museum of Modern Art 



interactivity and the attendant successes and failures. 

Interactive television was introduced in Reading in 1976 as one of three 
pilot projects funded by the National Science Foundation." Installation of 
the system followed a period of intense scrutiny of community relations, in 
which numerous studies and reports stressed the potential public benefit to 
be gained from two-way noncommercial services such as interactive 
educational TV and direct citizen feedback on local political issues." The 
project was developed by a community-based consortium working with a 
group from the Alternate Media Center at New York University led by Red 
Burns. AMC, founded by George Stoney. was a hotbed of "interactivity" in 
the form of community video and public access cable TV. AMC often made 
tapes in New York City that allowed community members to speak about 
particular issues. Since few people had cable TV, Stoney et ah would play 
the tapes back in barber shops, on stoops, or from the back of a car in order 
to spark discussion and/or action/ 

Although the original purpose of the Reading project was to determine 
if interactive TV could effectively and economically deliver social service 
information, the system took hold and is still running. Senior citizens 
congregate at three community centers, interconnected for two-way trans- 
mission with City Hall and the local Social Security office. Cameras are set 
up in each location, and a split screen shows the speakers in two locations 
participating in discussions. Their interactions, which occur for the most 
part in talk-show formats, provided the programming for the cable system 's 
interactive channel. The success of the Reading system resulted from a 
number of factors, but the most important was the high degree of community 
involvement in the system's design from the beginning, as well as its ability 
to facilitate actual social interaction. 

Not so Warner-Amex's QUBE system in Columbus, which provided the 
means for transmitting data from cable subscribers' homes to the cable 
facility but never entailed any dialogue. A typical QUBE interaction 
involved a multiple-choice question on an issue, such as whether a new 
shopping mall should be built. When it was introduced in 1981. QUBE was 
touted as a "politically powerful ally of democracy." But, as Jean Bethke 
Elshtain argued, QUBE is based not on democratic principles, which 
involve the active participation of citizens in debate and deliberation, but on 
a plebiscite system that merely registers public opinion. 

Plebiscitism is compatible with authoritarian politics carried out under the guise of. 
or with the connivance of, majority opinion. That opinion can be registered by easily 
manipulated, ritualistic plebiscites, so there is no need for debate on substantive 
questions.' 

Rather than facilitating discussion, this brand of interactive television 
provides a range of predetermined answers or opinions. The illusion of 
choice precludes debate and dissent from a carefully inscribed set of 
responses. Elshtain concludes. "The interactive shell game cons us into 
believing we are participating when we are really simply performing as the 
responding 'end' of a prefabricated system of external stimuli." 1 " 

16 THE INDEPENDENT 



Grahame Weinbren and Roberta Friedman's The Erl 

King installation at the Whitney Museum's 

1987 Biennial exhibition. 

Courtesy artists Whitney Museum of American Art and artists (far right) 



While Stoney and other community video activists such as Jon Alpert and 
Keiko Tsuno, working in New York City's Chinatown, were making and 
showing street tapes, many of their artist colleagues were engaged with 
other concepts of interactivity . Rooted in the art and theater of the late 1 950s 
and early sixties, artists articulated interactivity in terms of audience 
participation. Allan Kaprow, along with Claes Oldenburg, Edward Kien- 
holz. Red Grooms, and others, were making "Environments" — room-sized 
constructions made of street junk and everyday objects — in response to 
what they saw as the limits of Abstract Expressionism. Kaprow. in particu- 
lar, began to think about incorporating gallery visitors into these projects. 

I immediately saw that every visitor to the Environment was part of it. I had not really 
thought of it before. And so I gave him [sic] occupations like moving something, 
turning switches on — just a few things. Increasingly during 1957 and 1958. this 
suggested a more "scored" responsibility for that visitor. I offered him more and 
more to do until there developed the Happening." 

In Happenings, a tightly scripted series of actions taken from everyday 
activities were performed — not acted — sometimes simultaneously by vari- 
ous artist friends enlisted by Kaprow. He never intended that the term 
Happening would be used as a generic label but merely as a way to describe 
his gallery events without calling them "theater pieces" or "performances." 
The term stuck, however, after Kaprow presented 1 8 Happenings in 6 Parrs 
in 1959 at the Reuben Gallery in New York. In this work visitors to the 
gallery moved through three rooms Kaprow had constructed. In Total Art 
Adrian Henri describes the evolution of Kaprow's Happenings from 

ritualized theater pieces for a static audience to group rituals, performed mainly in 
an outdoor environment. . . . Two types of work emerged, one involving a more or less 
static audience, the other a walk-around environment.... Words, at the Smolin 
Gallery in 1962. was an arrangement of audience participation devices: rolls of 
words to move, words on cards hung on strings, words to pin up and rubberstamps 
to make phrases with.' : 

The breakdown of the distinction between audience and performer 
reached its extreme in activities staged by a group of artists who called 
themselves Fluxus. Henri makes a distinction between Happenings and 
Fluxus events: while Fluxus activities "were chance-generated random- 
performed pieces." Happenings were "tightly programmed (at least in the 
early years) environmental works, generally of much longer, and defined 
duration."" Fluxus artists — George Maciunas. Lamonte Young. Dick 
Higgins, Alison Knowles. George Brecht. Robert Filiou, Nam June Paik. 
and others — were inspired by the anarchistic precedents of Dada and John 
Cage's theories about the aesthetic potential of the commonplace and his 
use of chance operations to generate performances and events. Fluxus was 
an art of transgression, aimed not only at breaking down the boundary be- 
tween audience and performer but at eliminating the distinction between art 
and life in a celebration of the everyday. For instance, in Dick Higgins' Win- 
ter Carol ( 1 959) the concept of "audience" was eliminated altogether. As 
Barbara Haskell observed, "No one was invited to 'watch.' a format drasti- 
cally different from that of most Happenings, in which audiences were parti- 
cipatory if only by virtue of their cramped proximity to the performers." 1J 

Audience participation was in the air. but the impact of a number of 

MAY 1988 




theorists dealing with communications, cybernetics, and technology — 
including those who became household names like Buckminster Fuller, 
Alvin Toffler. Norbert Wiener, and Marshall McLuhan — gave it a new 
twist. People working in the new "medium" of video were drawn to 
McLuhan's and Wiener's ideas in particular. In McLuhan's theory, modern 
life is characterized by the simultaneous reception of vast amounts of 
information in the form of sense stimuli: sight, smell, hearing, touch, and 
taste. This bombardment was compounded, according to Toffler* s theory of 
"future shock," by the impression that people's sense of the rate of change 
was undergoing a profound escalation, making reality seem "speeded up." 
Accordingly, a new kind of perception was required so that these stimuli 
could be apprehended directly through the senses. The emphasis on percep- 
tion promulgated by this kind of pop theory was complemented by a 
conception of the artist as communicator. For instance, an article entitled 
"TV: The Next Medium" published in Art in America in 1 969 described the 
artist as a person "who can experience directly through his [sic] senses. His 
effectiveness as an artist can be judged by how well he communicates his 
perceptions." 15 Just as technology provided the metaphors for this brand of 
art criticism, technology was proposed as a key component of the commu- 
nications process, providing the means to create a new global conscious- 
ness — McLuhan's proverbial "global village." 

One of the artists who reiterated such arguments was Nam June Paik. who 
extended his earlier Fluxus activities into video. Between 1963 and 1971 he 
constructed a series of video sculptures called Participation TV. In one of 
these works. Magnet TV ( 1 965 ), he placed a large magnet on top of a TV set, 
employing the electromagnetic force exerted by the magnet to distort the 
incoming broadcast TV signal. In another piece, a microphone was attached 
to a TV. Blowing, clapping, singing, or making other sounds created 
colorful permutations of the image. During the same period, Joe Weintraub 
explored similar ideas in his ACIT\ / (Audio Controlled Television) ( 1 969), 
but without the interactive aspect. In this piece, the brightness of the TV 
image was controlled by the volume of the music and the color controlled 
by its pitch. 

Paik's participatory sculptures were only minimally interactive, but the 
video environments developed by his contemporaries, which employed 
live, closed-circuit video, were more closely linked to the idea of creating 
sensoria that somehow would change the viewer/participant's perception. 
John Margolies. the author who proclaimed "TV: The Next Medium.'' 
believed that this work represented a 



new concept of art and entertainment experience. ..the key to the new experience 
being the provision of options for the spectator's attention. The experience affirms the 
concepts of participation, simultaneity, spontaneity, and the accidental. Television is 
a prime example of this new experience with its option of many channels to be viewed 
simultaneously with a number of receivers or sequentially by changing the channels."' 

Examples of this kind of work abounded in the late sixties. LesLevine's 
Iris ( 1968), commissioned by a Philadelphia couple for their home, con- 
sisted of three video cameras which would "see" the spectator from three 
different vantage points. This "giant cybernetic eye." as Levine called it. 
would then display the images on a bank of six monitors. In his press release 
announcing the piece, Levine stated the purpose of Iris: 

Rather that existing as an art object. Iris is an art creator.... This type of participation, 
in which you are confronted with your image and your reaction to your image, is 
particularly vital today. Hopefully the spectator becomes aware of and gains an 
insight into the power of his [sic] own image. 

One of the most influential video environments built during this period 
was Wipe Cycle (1969), Frank Gillette and Ira Schneider's nine-monitor 
video mural created for the exhibition "TV as a Creative Medium" at the 
Howard Wise Gallery in 1969. As a viewer entered the gallery from the 
elevator, his or her image was picked up by a video camera. Through the use 
of a time delay, the image of the viewer, which was updated every eight 
seconds, alternated with broadcast images and a prerecorded tape on the 
gallery's monitors. Schneider described the piece: 

The most important thing was the notion of information presentation, and the notion 
of the integration of the audience into the information.... You can watch yourself live 
watching yourself 8 seconds ago. watching yourself 16 seconds ago. eventually 
feeling free enough to interact with this matrix, realizing one's own potential as an 
actor." 

Fundamental to such work was the idea that through formal processes alone 
video environments could change the way people perceive themselves and 
others. Levine, for instance, predicted that Iris would "substantially alter the 
imaging patterns of the owners." 

Yet another participator) project undertaken in the earl) years of artists' 
experimentation with television was the 30-minute \ ideotape The Medium 
Is the Medium ( 1969). produced by the Public Broadcasting Laboratory at 
WGBH in Boston. Six artists — Aldo Tambellini. Paik. K a prow . Tad Tad- 
lock. Otto Piene, and James Seav, right— were in\ ited to create segments for 
the tape. In Kaprow's contribution. Hello, a group of people gathered at four 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



Boston locations that were interconnected by 27 monitors and five cameras. 
Whenever anyone in the group identified themselves or someone they knew 
on one of the monitors, they were instructed to say "hello." The resulting 
tape shows them calling out to one another, waving, and smiling. Kaprow 
explained, "Everyone was a participant, creating, receiving and transmit- 
ting information all at once.... We had fun. We played.... The information 
was not a newscast or lecture, but the most important message of all: oneself 
in communication with someone else." 1 " 

With hindsight, it's easy to dismiss this and similar projects as naive and 
fault them for employing an abstract, uncritical idea of the function of 
communication. Ironically, Kaprow, whose Hello epitomized this kind of 
work, delivered its most stunning critique just five years later. In "Video 
Art: Old Wine, New Bottle," published in a 1 974 issue of Artforum, Kaprow 
singled out the work of Ira Schneider, Frank Gillette, Douglas Davis, Juan 
Downey, and others as "simple-minded and sentimental." He bemoaned 
their lack of critical thought and their "constant reliance on the glitter of the 
machines to carry the fantasy." 1 '' And he argued that the construction of 
often elaborate video environments intended to provide new perceptual 
experiences was no more experimental or novel that the "experience 
chambers" popular in the eighteenth century. Part of the problem, according 
to Kaprow, was that these projects were rooted in a certain progressive 
philosophy of education. Accordingly, "If people are given a privileged 
space and some sophisticated toys to play with, they will naturally do 
something enlightening, when in fact they usually don't." Kaprow con- 
cluded by comparing this work to world fairs' "futurama displays, with their 
familiar 1 9th-century push-button optimism and didacticism. They are part 
fun-house, part psychology lab." 

Although Kaprow was correct to challenge the thinking behind this work, 
few other critics had done so, except those writers married to reactionary 
aesthetics. : " Interactive projects were fun. And while technology continued 
to develop at a breakneck pace — from closed-circuit video cameras and 
monitors to, say, satellite hook-ups — artists kept producing optimistic work 
with it. At the same time, the emphasis shifted. The outlandish predictions 
about the ameliorating social effects of cybernetics failed to materialize, 
giving way to slightly less hyperbolic (if no less idealistic) responses. 
Nevertheless, communication still dominated as an important theme. There 
are numerous examples of such projects, using various means, but descrip- 
tions of three will suffice as illustrations. 

Douglas Davis' performances that incorporated radio, television, and 
satellites in the 1 970s variously represented efforts to "humanize" technol- 
ogy. In a recording of one of these, Handling (The Austrian Tapes) ( 1 974), 
Davis stands alone in a darkened space. Placing his hands on an invisible 
glass surface that gives the illusion he is inside a TV touching the screen, 
Davis says, "Please come to the television set. Place your hands against my 
hands. Think about our touching — each other." Davis solemnly repeats this 
invitation and then makes a similar plea, concluding: "Think about this — 
our linking." Here and his other projects, Davis creates a metaphorical space 
in which he reflects on what communications technology should be. The 
Last Nine Minutes, produced for a live satellite transmission at Documenta 
6 in 1977, also delineates a space that represents the inside of a TV set. 
Seeking to reduce the distance between himself as producer and the viewer, 
he entreats the audience to break through the space separating them: "I will 
find you, in nine minutes, and when I do, we will destroy this thing, this 
idea." He pounds on a transparent piece of plexiglass and scratches it with 
a knife. The plexiglass is placed in front of the camera to give the illusion 
that Davis is actually maiming the TV screen. In the end he rushes forward 
and knocks down the plexiglass, accompanied by the sound of shattering 
glass. 

If these performances symbolically vent Davis' frustration with the one- 
way delivery of communications technologies, they never explain the 
economic and historical factors that underlie the institutions of television. 
This theme — seeking interpersonal connection through the use of commu- 
nications technology without questioning how the institutions that control 
this technology increase social fragmentation and individual isolation — 
also runs through Wendy Clarke's Love Tapes, a collection of over 800 



three-minute tapes produced over several years, beginning in 1978. In The 
Love Tapes various people sit in a private booth designed by the artist and 
are recorded as they reflect on the subject of love. Clarke, who described The 
Love Tapes as a "public, interactive video art event," set up her booth in 
museums and other public spaces, such as the World Trade Center. After 
watching other Love Tapes, participants were asked to select background 
music, choose from an assortment of backdrops (e.g., scenes of beaches or 
forests), and talk spontaneously about love for three minutes while watching 
themselves on a monitor. After making a tape, each participant was allowed 
to decide whether to erase it or allow it to be shown publicly. 
According to Clarke, The Love Tapes 

provides an extraordinary opportunity to watch and hear people reveal a deep 
dimension of themselves.... Through this particular use of video, we seeaglimpseof 
humanity not otherwise possible. People begin to see that they no longer need be 
confined to a passive relationship with TV, but can become part of its content. 



Personal disclosure — and, by implication, intimacy — is the goal of this 
work, but the tapes merely provide an illusion of intimacy. The project of 
producing intimacy via video presumes a structural attribute supposedly 
inherent in television technology that has been underdeveloped, a failure 
that can be corrected on the level of content. 

If Clarke delineated a pseudo-private space within which people could 
express their personal feelings — albeit for public consumption — Hole in 
Space ( 1 980), a "public interactive sculpture" by Kit Galloway and Sherrie 
Rabinowitz, sought to unite people via a live satellite hook-up between New 
York City and Los Angeles. Large video screens were placed in a street 
window of Avery Fisher Hall in New York and a window of a Los Angeles 
department store. With no prior publicity, cameras and microphones were 
set up, and for three evenings people in each location could see and talk with 
people on the other side of the country. As word about the piece spread, 
crowds grew larger and more ebullient, entertaining each other with 
charades and songs. Relatives arranged rendezvous at this free "video 
phone," bringing babies and family snapshots to the sites. Perhaps Hole in 
Space can be seen as a more technically sophisticated version of Kaprow's 
Hello, but there is one other crucial difference. Whereas Hello occurred in 
a private space populated by a preselected group of people, Hole in Space 
was more random, more public. People discovered it by accident, hence the 
quality of interaction was more spontaneous and less self-conscious. 

Over and over, interactivity has been articulated in terms of establishing 
links between artists and audience, taking technologies developed for 
corporate and military use and appropriating them for humanistic purposes. 
The desire to overcome personal alienation and bridge cultural differences, 
to reestablish interpersonal intimacy using technologies that have been 
instrumental in maintaining fragmenting isolation — these are lofty ideals 
laced with humanist social theory. But notably absent from these works is 
a political critique of the structures of communication and how television 
technology not only reproduces images but social relations as well — an 
understanding of ideology. By concentrating on the formal aspects of 
interactivity and elevating technology as the central determinant of social 
interactions, these projects have illustrated a positivist model of technologi- 
cal progress. 

Videodisc, the most recent video technology to excite interest among 
artists, however, has promised a form of interactivity where the processes 
by which meaning is structured attain center stage. So far, not many artists 
have produced interactive videodiscs, probably because it's prohibitively 
expensive, with incremental increases in cost depending on the degree of 
interactivity achieved. The single "dumb" Level I disc provides random 
access to still frames, while the Level II system, which has a tiny internal 
computer, consists of a videodisc player, a keypad, a videodisc, and a 
monitor. To access a frame or "chapter" the user presses a search button on 
the keypad, then enters a frame or chapter number to display a particular 
frame or sequence. A Level III system uses an external computer that 
provides expanded digital storage capacity. Since the computer can switch 
between disc players, multiple discs can be used to increase the amount of 
information available to the user. It also allows the capability to use 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 




peripheral devices like an infrared touch screen instead of a keypad (some 
industry personnel call this Level IV). Writing in Videography. Linda 
Helgerson pointed out, "The more interactivity, the more still frames are 
required. ... The level of interactivity directly affects the work of the project 
team: the scriptwriting, flowcharting, software design and development, 
and preproduction work." 21 

Lynn Hershman is credited with making the first artist's interactive 
videodisc, Lorna (1984), although other artists had previously worked on 
interactive videotape projects. The subject of Lorna, a Level II system, is a 
fictional 4 1 -year-old woman suffering from agoraphobia. Lorna presents a 
branching narrative where the trajectory and outcome are determined by the 
viewer, based on selections from a number of options provided by Hersh- 
man. Through the use of a remote-control unit, the viewer pushes buttons 
on a keypad to determine what happens next. For instance, there are three 
possible endings: Lorna remains a prisoner in her own apartment: she shoots 
herself; or she shoots the television set, an act that symbolizes her emanci- 
pation." For Hershman, interactive video represents a liberating social 
force. "Rather than being remotely controlled by media environments, the 
controls quite literally are now in the hands of the users, as is the key to a 
new area of individual freedom and empowerment." 21 But are users really 
being offered choices, or just another new toy, a more sophisticated version 
of a video game? Is interactive video, to paraphrase Kaprow, old wine in a 
new bottle? 

Hershman's hyperbole aside, Lorna suggests two structuring activi- 
ties — narrativity and gaming — that may shed light on why artists are 
attracted to interactive videodisc. Recent narrative theory has departed from 
the structural analysis of narrative units and structures in favor of the study 
of the dynamics of narrative — how a plot moves forward and works on the 
reader. As Theresa de Lauretis articulated this shift in Alice Doesn't, the 
focus is not on 

narrative but narrativity: not so much the structure of narrative (its component units 
and their relations) as its works and effects. Today narrative theory is no longer or 
not primarily intent on establishing a logic, a grammar, or a formal rhetoric of 
narrative: what it seeks to understand is the nature of the structuring and destructur- 
ing, even destructive, processes at work in textual and semiotic production." 

The interest in how narrative works, how it causes us to turn pages and 
construct meaning, derives from the concept of how desire operates in 
narrative. As Peter Brooks has described the function of desire, "We can, 
then, conceive of the reading of plot as a form of desire that carries us 
forward, onward, through the text. Narratives both tell of desire — typically 
present some story of desire — and arouse and make use of desire as dynamic 
of signification." 25 And David Taller has identified some of interactive 
videodisc's characteristics that make this technology particularly relevant 



Cameron Johann plays the son and Ken Glickfeld 
the father in The Erl King's "Burning Child" dream 
sequence, based on a passage from Freud's 
Interpretation of Dreams. 

Courtesy artists 



to a discussion of narrative: its lack of a linear structure, the ability for time 
and duration to be "self-regulated" by the user, and the shift from the 
"reading" of the text — i.e., its passive consumption — to a writerly mode, in 
which the viewer actively constructs meaning. "As a non-sequential index 
of moments, files, and clues, the interactive process takes on whatever 
meaning that may exist in its structure from the configuration of the 
individual spectator's exploration and play." 2 " With interactive videodiscs, 
gaming structures are established that allow the user to engage in those 
ordering operations. Depending on the number of discs and players used, a 
seemingly inexhaustible number of combinations can be created, affording 
different interpretive possibilities. 

It's telling that a number of artists who have previously produced 
videotapes referenced to semiotic theory have also been working with 
videodiscs. Peter D'Agostino, whose videotape Quarks (1980) borrows 
from both subatomic physics and linguistic theory, in 1986 produced 
Double You (and X, Y, Z), a four-channel interactive videodisc that uses 
structural linguistics to explore language acquisition. Juan Downey, who 
produced The Looking Glass (1981) and Information Withheld ( 1 983 ) — 
two tapes inspired by structuralism and semiotics — is completing an 
interactive videodisc based on his videotape J.S. Bach ( 1 986). In this work. 
Play Bach. the viewer encounters a menu of 1 3 options consisting of. among 
other things, different variations on a Bach fugue performed by harpsi- 
chordist Elaine Comparone, visual representations of the score, and ver- 
sions which compress and expand the fugue's tempo. Each segment is two 
minutes long. After the viewer selects and views a given version, the 
program returns to the menu, from which a different selection can be made. 
Play Bach uses one videodisc (which limits the number of possible permu- 
tations) and attempts to establish a correlation between the musical structure 
of a Bach fugue, with its theme and variations, and the operation of an 
interactive videodisc. For Downey, "There are certain counterpoint prin- 
ciples; it's a natural relationship between Bach and the computer." 

Perhaps the most ambitious and complex artists' interactive videodisc 
project to date is Grahame Weinbren and Roberta Friedman's The Erl King 
( 1 986), which poses a number of questions about the dynamics of narrative. 
The Erl King is not structured as a branching story like Lorna, or as a series 
of variations on a theme like Play Bach. Rather than presenting a number 
of possible "meanings" or narrative developments from which to choose, 
the program tries to direct the viewer/player toward the construction of 
meaning based on desire. The viewer sits at a console facing a touch- 
sensitive screen, while a text on the screen invites the viewer to "touch." thus 
activating the program. Three videodisc players, each with approximately 
50,000 frames, are interfaced with a computer, a video switcher, and the 
infrared screen. Whenever the screen is touched the computer sends a signal 
to the switcher, which controls the three disc players. Depending on what 
sector of the screen is touched, different visual and/or audio material plays 
on the monitor. Sometimes touching the screen changes the audio, or just the 
video, or both. 

When the program is activated, a woman appears and begins to sing (in 
German) a Schubert lied based on a poem by Goethe. Der Erlkoenig, \\ hich 
tells the story of a father's failure to respond to his young son's fears of the 
mythical Erlking who is trying to entice the boy. As the lather carries the boy 
through a forest on a stormy night, the boy pleads with his father for help. 
When the father reaches the edge of the forest, the bo) is dead in his arms. 
A second set of images and text presents an enactment of the "Burning 
Child" dream from Freud's Interpretation of Dreams, which, like the 
Goethe poem, concerns a lather's failure to heed his son's premonitions of 
imminent danger. For Weinbren. the structure of dreams — "the waj the 
mind can coalesce different lines of thought, images, beliefs, desires, and 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 




memories into a single image" — paralleled his thinking about interactive 
video. "I'm interested in finding images that are conglomerates of not 
necessarily consistent themes and then letting the apparatus make the 
viewer aware of the interlocking elements." 27 

The ErI King employs a mosaic structure: dependingon which section of 
the screen is touched, different visual and audio information appear. There 
are approximately 90 minutes of material assembled on the three videodiscs 
accessible to the viewer/player. Besides the Freud and Goethe sections. 
Weinbren and Friedman created approximately 30 more scenes in which 
visual elements from the two central motifs appear: psychoanalyst Stuart 
Schneiderman interpreting the "Burning Child" dream, activity in achicken 
processing plant, a Chinese chef at work, a roller derby, a performance by 
a trombone and percussion group, and so on. They also included about 500 
still images. 

What are we to make of it all? That is precisely the point. Weinbren stated 
that he was "interested in making an apparatus that would display some 
image material in time and encourage viewers to respond to it by interrupt- 
ing the flow." :x Unlike film, which lures the spectator into the process of 
watching or"constructs" its subject, interactive video can constantly disrupt 
the narrative flow of the moving image. In Weinbren's words. 

The linear quality of narrative is challenged by this medium simply because it 
bypasses beginning at one point and ending at another: the beginning is where the 
viewers walk in. the ending where they walk away. Exactly how things happen in 
that time is determined by what viewers do in it, and at any point there is the potential 
for something different to happen/" 

Because The ErI King deals with the intersection of narrative and cinema 
as systems of signification, it is more akin to avant-garde film than earlier 
interactive video experiments. By investigating psychic structures, not 
sensory stimuli, a different agenda is proposed: an inquiry into where 
meaning resides and is produced. Whereas works like Wipe Cycle or Iris 
were calculated to alter viewers' perceptions of themselves through the 
interaction with information systems — a behavioristic model of percep- 
tion — The ErI King invites the viewer to enjoy the unexpected twists and 
turns of unconscious associations. And, unlike The Last Nine Minutes or 
Hole in Space, which conceived of interactivity as communication between 
individuals. The ErI King assumes that communication is more complex, 
linked to narrative processes. In this piece, videodisc technology supplies 
the means to reproduce the dynamics of narratives, sidestepping the formal 
cul-de-sacs and idealization of technology that have been common to 
artists' concepts of interactivity. Although attempts to rationalize everyday 
life, evident in devices like automated bank tellers and computerized 
training programs, will undoubtedly remain the prevalent uses of interactive 
videodisc systems, Weinbren and Friedman's work represents a departure 
from previous efforts by artists to humanize this machinery. Instead, The ErI 
King acknowledges and exploits the irrationality of lived experience. 



A line from Goethe's Erlkoenig painted on an 
abandoned car in New York City, is one of the 
images used in Weinbren and Friedman's 
interactive The ErI King. 

Courtesy artists 



NOTES 

1 . Andrea Adelson. "Jet Flight Simulator, the Ultimate Video Game," New York 
Times. September 9, 1987, p. D8. 

2. Jill Ottenberg, "Discs Get Heavy Play in the Arcade," Videography. Vol. 9, No. 1 
(January 1984), pp. 22-28. 

3. James A. Lippke. "Interactive Video Discs: Entering the Mainstream of Business." 
Educational-Industrial Television, Vol. 19, No. 8 (August 1987), pp. 12-17. 

4. Diane Kolyer, "Big Business Is Branching Out into Disc," Videography, Vol. 9. 
No. 1 (January 1984), p. 31. 

5. Rudy Bretz, Media for Interactive Communication (Beverly Hills: Sage Publica- 
tions. 1983). p. 115. 

6. John Carey and Pat Quarles, "Interactive Television," in Transmission: Theory and 
Practice for a New Television Aesthetics, edited by Peter D' Agostino (New York: 
Tanam Press, 1985), pp. 105-1 17. 

7. See, for instance. Walter S. Baer. "Interactive Television: Prospects for Two-Way 
Services on Cable," a report prepared by the Rand Corporation for the John and 
Mary R. Markle Foundation. November 1971. 

8. Marita Sturken. "An Interview with George Stoney," Afterimage, Vol. 1 1, No. 6 
(January 1984), pp. 7-11. 

9. Jean Bethke Elshtain. "Democracy and the QUBE Tube." The Nation (August 7- 

14, 1982). p. 108. 

10. Elshtain. p. 110. 

1 1. Michael Kirby. Happenings (New York: E.P. Dutton and Co.. 1965). p. 46. 

12. Adrian Henri, Total Art: Environments. Happenings, and Performance (New 
York: Praeger Publishers, 1974), p. 93. 

13. Henri, p. 157. 

14. Barbara Haskell, Blam! The Explosion of Pop. Minimalism, and Performance, 
/95S-/964 (New York: The Whitney Museum of American Art and W.W.Norton. 
1984), p. 50. 

15. John S. Margolies, "TV: The Next Medium." Art in America. Vol. 57. No. 5 
(September 1969), p. 50. 

16. Ibid. 

17. Jud Yalkut, "TV as a Creative Medium at Howard Wise Gallery," Arts, No. 42 
(September/October 1969), p. 20. 

18. Margolies. p. 51. 

19. Allan Kaprow, "Video Art: Old Wine. New Bottle." Ariforum. Vol. 12. No. 10 
(June 1974). pp. 46-49. 

20. See. for example. Barbara Rose. "Television as Art. "Inevitable."" Vogue (August 

15. 1969). 

21 . Linda Helgerson. "'Choosing a Premastering Facility." Videography. Vol. 10. No. 
1 (January 1985), p. 21. 

22. For a more comprehensive discussion of Lorna. see Christine Tamblyn. "Lynn 
Hershman's Narrative Anti-Narratives," Afterimage, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Summer 
1986). pp. 8-10. 

23. Lynn Hershman, "Bodyheat: Interactive Media and Human Response." High 
Performance, Vol. 10. No. 1 ( 1987). p. 45. 

24. Theresa de Lauretis./M'ce Doesn't: Feminism, Semiotics. Cinema (Bloomington: 
Indiana University Press, 1984), p. 105. 

25. Peter Brooks. Reading for the Plot: Design and I mention in Narrative (New York: 
Vintage Books. 1984). p. 37. 

26. David Tafler. "Double You land X.Y.Z): Video's New Interactive Frontier." 
SPOT (Summer 1986). unpaginated. 

27. Barbara Osbom. "Interactive Fictions: An Interview with Grahame Weinbren." 
Afterimage. Vol. 15. No. 2 (September 1987), p. 10. 

28. Ibid. 
29. Ibid. 

Luanda Furlong is the assistant curator of film and video at the Whitney 
Museum of American Art. 

© 1988 Lucinda Furlono 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



The Limits of Copyright 

MORAL RIGHTS AND THE BERNE CONVENTION 



Robert C. Harris 



I Editor' s note: This article is presented only for the purpose of educating 
independent film- and videomakers and is not to be taken as legal advice.] 

K Goodwrite writes the screenplay for a film. The film credits attribute 
screenplay credit to M. Pasta. Have Goodwrite's rights been violated? 

f The producer and director of a two-and-a-half-hour film learn that a 
television distributor has edited it and plans to license broadcast in a two- 
hour time slot, including 30 minutes of commercials. Can they stop it? 

These two scenarios raise issues of moral rights, also known by the French 
term droit moral. Moral rights have become the focus of considerable 
attention because of renewed interest in the Berne Convention, an interna- 
tional copyright treaty. The United States government is now seriously 
considering becoming a signatory to the Berne Convention. To the extent 
that the U.S. Copyright Act must be amended if the U.S. joins the Berne 
Convention, this will clearly affect the entertainment industry. 

This article will discuss an important provision of the Berne Conven- 
tion — moral rights, the current status of such rights in the United States, and 
their impact on filmmakers. 

* * • 

The Berne Convention forthe Protection of Literary and Artistic Works was 
concluded on September 9, 1886. This original convention went through a 
series of revisions — Paris (1896), Berlin (1908). Rome (1928), Brussels 
( 1 948), Stockholm ( 1 967 ). and Paris ( 1971). The International Union forthe 
Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, better known as the Berne Union, 
is comprised of countries adhering to one or more of the revised Berne 
conventions. 

The Berne Convention is generally considered the paragon international 
copyright treaty, not only because it is the oldest but because it affords the 
highest level of copyright protection. Copyright protection under the Berne 
Convention is based on the principle of "national treatment," meaning that 
a member country of Berne must afford a citizen of another membercountry 
the same copyright protection it affords to its own citizens. (E.g.. England 
must grant to a French author the same copyright protection England affords 
its own authors.) In addition, the Berne Convention imposes certain mini- 
mal standards of copyright protection that must be part of the copyright laws 
of each member nation. Further, copyright protection may not be condi- 
tioned on compliance with any "formalities." such as a requirement to 
register the work or to attach a copyright notice to the work. 

There are presently 76 nations adhering to one of the Berne Conventions. 
The United States has never joined the Berne Union. This largely results 
from historic rivalries between U.S. and British publishing houses, which 
generated opposition against the national treatment doctrine. Also, U.S. 
copyright laws have imposed and still impose formalities that are inconsis- 
tent with Berne principles. In 1 954, the U.S. ratified a second international 
copj right treaty, the Universal Copyright Convention. Like Berne, the UCC 



is administered by an organization of the United Nations and is based on the 
principle of national treatment. However, the UCC's minimal standards are 
not as high as those of Berne, and the UCC permits the imposition of some 
formalities as preconditions to obtaining copyright protection. There are 
almost 80 countries that belong to the UCC. and many nations adhere to both 
Berne and the UCC. In addition, the U.S. has direct treaties with a number 
of countries and thus has formal copyright relations with almost 100 
countries. 

Why the push for the U.S. to join Berne? First, the U.S. would gain 
copyright relations with 24 countries that adhere to Berne but not the UCC 
and with whom the U.S. has no direct or clear copyright relationship. 
Second, as one of the world's great disseminators of intellectual property 
and with rapid advances in information technologies, the U.S. has faced 
increasing problems policing infringement of the works of its authors and 
creators in many areas throughout the world. It is believed that adherence 
to Berne, considered to be the preeminent copyright treaty, would enhance 
our credibility in dealing with foreign governments and obtaining their 
assistance in respecting and enforcing intellectual property rights. 

Adherence to Berne has been advocated by copyright owners, scholars, 
the Copyright Office, the Reagan administration, and a number of members 



Moral rights, as set forth in the Berne 
Convention, consist of two separate 
rights. The first is the right of an author 
to claim authorship of his/her work, also 
known as the right of paternity. This 
right encompasses more than merely the 
affirmative right to be named as author. 
The second moral right is that of an 
author to prevent distortion, mutilation, 
or any other modification of a work that 
would he derogatory to the author's 
reputation, also referred to as the right 
of integrity. 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



1 he Berne Convention refers to moral 
rights as personal rights, in that such 
rights protect the reputation of the 
author, and provides that moral rights 
apply even after the transfer of 
"economic" rights in the copyright 
(e.g., the right to receive payment for 
reproduction, performance, etc.). For 
example, even after sale of motion 
picture rights to a filmlvideomaker, a 
novelist would be entitled to enforce 
his/her moral rights. 



of Congress. In June 1 986, President Reagan transmitted the Berne Conven- 
tion to the Senate for its advice and consent. As noted, the Berne Convention 
imposes certain minimal standards that must be met by each member state. 
There has been much writing and discussion — including testimony at 
Congressional hearings — concerning what changes would have to be made 
in the U.S. copyright law to bring it into compliance with the Berne 
Convention. One important issue is that of moral rights, and there is much 
debate about whether any changes would have to be made in the U.S. 
copyright law for the U.S. to satisfy the Berne Convention moral rights 
provisions. The moral rights issue has become a controversial one in the 
entertainment industry, and various facets of the motion picture industry 
have found themselves taking different sides. 

Moral rights were introduced in the Berne Convention in 1928. Article 
6his{\) of the 1971 text (to which the U.S. would adhere, should it join 
Berne) provides: 

Independently of the authors economic rights, and even after the transfer of the said 
rights, the author shall have the right to claim authorship of the work and to object 
to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in 
relation to. the said work, which would be prejudicial to his honor or reputation. 

Thus, moral rights, as set forth in the Berne Convention, consist of two 
separate rights. The first is the right of an author to claim authorship of his/ 
her work, also known as the right of paternity. As will be discussed below, 
this right encompasses more than merely the affirmative right to be named 
as author. The second moral right is that of an author to prevent distortion, 
mutilation, or any other modification of a work that would be derogatory to 
the author's reputation, also referred to as the right of integrity. 

The Berne Convention refers to moral rights as personal rights, in that 
such rights protect the reputation of the author, and provides that moral 
rights apply even after the transfer of "economic" rights in the copyright 
(e.g., the right to receive payment for reproduction, performance, etc.). For 
example, even after sale of motion picture rights to a film/videomaker, a 
novelist would be entitled to enforce his/her moral rights. 

The U.S. Copyright Act does not expressly incorporate either of the 
moral rights. However, in a number of cases analogous protection has been 



afforded under other principles of United States law, and indeed, many 
Berne advocates argue that no change in the U.S. copyright law is required 
for the U.S. to join Berne. 

• RIGHT OF PATERNITY • 

Although the wording of the Berne moral rights provision quoted above 
speaks of the right to "claim authorship." a positive right, the right of 
paternity has generally been subdivided into three separate rights: (i) the 
right to claim authorship and prevent false authorship attribution to another 
person: (ii) the right to disclaim authorship (i.e., to have the author's name 
deleted); and (iii) the right to prevent misattribution of authorship (i.e., to 
prevent inaccurate description of the author's actual contribution). 

No right of paternity is found in the U.S. Copyright Act. While an 
application for copyright registration must include the name of an author, 
this is not what is contemplated by the moral right to claim authorship, 
which is the right of the author to have his/her name used in conjunction with 
dissemination of the work to the public. 

Various state statutes, including the New York Artists' Authorship 
Rights Act and the California Art Preservation Act, entitle an artist of a work 
of fine art to claim authorship even after the sale of the work and. for good 
cause, to disclaim authorship of the work. However, this right of paternity 
extends only to one limited area of the universe of copyrightable works — 
works of fine art — and has no application to any other artistic or literary 
works. A bill recently proposed in the Senate known as the Visual Artists 
Rights Act of 1 987 (S. 1 6 1 9), as well its counterpart House bill (H.R. 7352), 
would amend the U.S. Copyright Act to create a right of paternity with 
regard to works of fine art. Again, these bills, even if enacted, would not 
apply across-the-board but would create a limited, carved-out exception for 
one subset of creators — "fine artists." 

Historically, a right of paternity has not been recognized in the case law. 
Decisions have held that when an author sells or licenses his/her work, the 
author does not have the inherent right to be credited as the author, unless 
he/she has specifically obtained such right in the contract. Indeed, it has 
been held that it is not an infringement of copyright for a licensee who has 
been authorized to reproduce the work to do so without including the 
author's name. Although in some cases general language appears to the 
effect that courts will protect against the omission of an author's name 
unless by contract he/she has waived such right, cases hold that unless the 
author has obtained the right to be credited by contract, the licensee will not 
be held liable for failure to do so. Thus, not only where an author expressly 
waives the right to receive credit but even where the agreement is silent as 
to credit, the cases have not upheld a right of the author to require such credit. 
For example, in a 1 940s case, the co-writer of the story of a motion picture 
entitled Brigham Young — Frontiersman, who had transferred all of her 
rights in the story to Twentieth Century Fox without obtaining any right to 
credit, was unsuccessful in her suit against the motion picture company 
when it gave exclusive screen credit to her collaborator. 

However, more recent developments suggest that a failure to credit 
authorship may violate Section 43(a) of the federal Lanham Act. the 
Trademark Act, which also prohibits false designations of origin and false 
representations. In a 1981 case, actor Paul Smith, who starred in an Italian 
film pursuant to a contract providing that he would receive star billing in the 
screen credits and in advertising, sued the U.S. distributors who released the 
film in this country under the name Convoy Buddies but removed Smith's 
name from both the film credits and advertising, substituting the name of 
another actor. Bob Spencer. Smith alleged that as a result his reputation as 
an actor had been damaged and that he had lost employment opportunities. 
A California federal appellate court upheld the right to bring a claim on the 
basis of a violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act as a false designation 
of origin or false representation. 

While the case deals with actors and not writers, its rationale should be 
equally applicable to writers, directors, and producers: 

Since actors' fees for pictures, and indeed, their ability to get any work at all. is often 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



based on the drawing power their name may be expected to have at the box office, 
being accurately credited for films in which they have played would seem to be of 
critical importance in enabling actors to sell their "services," i.e., their performances. 

In fact, last year a court, relying on the Smith case, found a violation of 
Section 43(a) and enjoined a school district from publishing, allegedly 
without permission, a book which credited a school official as the author, 
where the book has been conceived by a journalism teacher and originally 
written by her students under her supervision. 

It should be noted, however, that both of these cases present situations of 
express misrepresentation, i.e., the substitution of the name of a different 
actor or author. They do not concern a mere absence of credit, which is an 
implied misrepresentation. Moreover, in the Smith case, there was a 
contractual obligation to accord credit. However, the rationale of these 
decisions would appear to cover implied as well as express misrepresenta- 
tion. 

There is a serious question about the precedential value of these deci- 
sions, however, since the same court that decided the Smith case now 
appears to have pulled the rug out from under it. In a 1 987 case, the producer 
of the film The Junkman, an adventure film featuring spectacular automo- 
bile chases and collisions designed to appeal largely to teenagers and young 
adults, sued United Artists and various theaters for advertising the movie as 
"R" rated, indicating that the motion picture was unsuitable for children and 
young adults and that no one under the age of 1 8 should be admitted to watch 
it. Plaintiff claimed that the commercial success of the film was closely 
connected with a "PG" rating and that use of the "R" rating created 
disastrous box office consequences. While the court acknowledged that a 
logical extension of the Smith case could support the conclusion that the 
defendants violated Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act by making a false 
representation, the court held that the Lanham Act requires that, in order for 
there to be unfaircompetition, there must be actual competition between the 
parties. The court held that there was no competition between the plaintiff 
producer and the defendant distributor and exhibitors. As authors and actors 
are rarely competitors of producers, distributors, and exhibitors, this deci- 
sion, if followed, would severely limit the availability of relief under the 
Lanham Act for a failure to credit. 

Under the present law, it would thus appear that there is no clear legally 
defined right to authorship credit unless the author has expressly obtained 
such right under his/her contract. While a court might find that even without 
a clear credit provision there is an implied contractual obligation of good 
faith and fair dealing to properly accord authorship credit — since it is a 
common industry practice to attribute authorship, there is a public interest 
in knowing the name of the actual author, there is inherent unfairness in 
depriving an author of his or her credit, and a failure to credit suggests that 
the producer authored the work — apparently no case has as yet sustained 
liability on this basis. 

Turning to the converse — the right of an author to prevent use of his/her 
name in connection with his/her work — as a general rule, an author may not 
object to the use of his/her name in connection with the work where such 
attribution is true, unless a contractual provision prohibits use of the 
author's name or gives the author the right to withdraw credit. Further, if 
truthful, a licensee may state that its work is based on the author's work. For 
example, in the 1940s, Margaret Landon, author of the book Anna and the 
King ofSiam, sold motion picture rights to Twentieth Century Fox. In 1972, 
Fox produced a television series entitled Anna and the King, the credits of 
which stated that the scripts were "based on" Landon's book. The credit for 
the teleplay was given to the actual screenwriters in the same titles where 
Landon's name appeared. Landon challenged Fox's rights to produce the 
series and to use her name in the credits. The court held that pursuant to the 
rights agreement Fox was entitled to produce the television series and, 
further, that Fox was within its rights to state truthfully that, in fact, the series 
was based on her book. 

The state statutes and the federal bills noted above concerning works of 
fine art generally provide that an artist retains the right to disclaim author- 
ship for just and valid reason, including alteration or mutilation of the work 
without the artist's consent, after a sale of a work of line art. As will be 



discussed concerning the right of integrity, the mutilation cases suggest that 
the use of an author's name in connection with a mutilated version of his/ 
her work, such that the author's reputation will be injured, could constitute 
a violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. 

The law has afforded protection to an author to prevent misattribution as 
to the nature or extent of authorship. It has been held that an author's rights 
are violated if, without his/her consent, he/she is named as author of a work 
which he/she did not in fact write. If the author's actual contribution is 
misrepresented, that is also a violation of rights. Author Ken Follett sued the 
publisher Arbor House concerning the book The Gentlemen of 16 July, 
where the publisher planned to attribute principal authorship of the work to 
Follett. The authorship credit was to read "by Ken Follett," in large type, 
followed by "with Rene Louis Maurice," a pseudonym of three French 
authors, in smaller type. In addition, only Follett's name would appear on 
the spine of the book. Follett claimed that such attribution was a false 
designation violating Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. The court issued an 
injunction requiring that the authorship credit be changed to provide that it 
was written by Rene Louis Maurice, "with Ken Follett." 

The original book, concerning a bank robbery in France and the appre- 
hension and escape of one of the defendants, was written by the three French 
authors. The book was rewritten and edited by Follett. Although the court 
acknowledged that Follett's contribution was a substantial alteration — that 
the finished product bore the mark of his style and craftsmanship and 
evidenced more than a mere "edit" of the original version — Follett was not 
the principal author inasmuch as he worked from a fixed plot, cast of 
characters, theme, framework, format, and choice of material that had been 
furnished to him by the original authors. Thus, although Follett made 
authorship contributions, he was not the principal author and it was 
misleading to represent him as such. 

A false representation of the nature of a performer's performance was 
also enjoined where internationally reputed jazz guitarist George Benson 
sued a record company which altered and rereleased an old recording on 
which Benson had been a minor musician. Years ago, when he was an 
unknown, Benson was hired as one of several musicians of a jazz combo to 
record music composed and directed by others. He had no control over the 
musical style, the content, or production of the original record. The 
defendant record company remixed the old recording, accenting Benson's 
guitar track in order to make him appear to be the lead guitarist, dubbed in 
sexually suggestive material, placed the legend "X Rated LP" on the album 
cover, and titled the album George Benson. Erotic Moods. Other cases also 



In a 1940s case, the co-writer of the 
story of a motion picture entitled 
"Brigham Young — Frontiersman" who 
had transferred all of her rights in the 
story to Twentieth Century Fox without 
obtaining any right to credit, was unsuc- 
cessful in her suit against the motion 
picture company when it gave exclusive 
screen credit to her collaborator. 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



indicate that a false attribution of authorship can constitute unfair compe- 
tition, invasion of privacy, and libel. 



• RIGHT OF INTEGRITY • 

The U.S. Copyright Act does not expressly recognize this aspect of moral 
rights, with the limited exception of compulsory licensing for phonograph 
recordings that prohibits a record producer from changing the basic melody 
or fundamental character of the musical work being recorded. Nevertheless, 
right of integrity might be read into the Copyright Act. One of the exclusive 
rights afforded to a copyright owner is the right to prepare derivative works. 
The statutory definition of "derivative work" includes "any form in which 
a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted." Arguably, a truncated or 
severely edited version of a work is an adaptation, requiring the permission 
of the copyright owner. However, no case appears to have as yet recognized 
this approach. 

However, in a leading decision involving Monty Python's Flying Circus 
it was held that extensive unauthorized changes in television scripts that 
impaired their integrity constituted copyright infringement. In the case of 
Gilliam v. ABC. the Monty Python writers/performers sued ABC for 
unauthorized changes in a broadcast of their Monty Python's Flying Circus 
television programs. The plaintiffs had a contract with the British Broad- 
casting Corporation to produce their scripts that allowed the BBC to make 
only minor changes'in the scripts without the plaintiffs' consent. There was 
no express right to alter the programs after they were recorded. Also, the 
plaintiffs retained all other rights in the scripts. The BBC then sublicensed 



In a 1981 case, actor Paul Smith, who 
starred in an Italian film pursuant to a 
contract providing that he would receive 
star billing in the screen credits and in 
advertising, sued the U.S. distributors 
who released the film in this country 
under the name "Convoy Buddies' but 
removed Smith's name from both the film 
credits and advertising, substituting the 
name of another actor, Bob Spencer. . . 
A California federal appellate court up- 
held the right to bring a claim on the 
basis of a violation of Section 43(a) of 
the Lanham Act — the Trademark Act — 
as a false designation of origin or false 
representation. 



U.S. television rights to a distributor which licensed ABC the right to do a 
90-minute special comprised of three 30-minute episodes. ABC deleted 24 
minutes from the programs, both for the purpose of inserting commercials 
and for deleting what it considered offensive or inappropriate matter. This 
deletion amounted to 27 percent of the programming. The plaintiffs claimed 
that such extensive mutilation impaired the integrity of the programs and 
their reputation. 

The court stated that the U.S. copyright law does not recognize moral 
rights: "American copyright law, as presently written, does not recognize 
moral rights or provide a cause of action for their violation, since the law 
seeks to vindicate the economic, rather than the personal, rights of authors." 
It held, however, that where a licensee makes changes in the work beyond 
the rights granted under the contract of such magnitude so as to significantly 
alter the work, such conduct is an infringement of copyright. The court was 
careful to caution that not all editing would constitute copyright infringe- 
ment and that a licensee is afforded some degree of latitude in editing a work 
for presentation in a manner consistent with its style or standards. 

It is important to note that the court's finding of copyright infringement 
was premised on its interpretation of the contract. Cases have held that an 
author can contract away the right to approve changes in his/her work. 
Indeed, it has even been held that this right can be implied under certain 
circumstances. For example. Otto Preminger. the producer and director of 
the film Anatomy of a Murder, who had granted motion picture and 
television rights to Columbia Pictures, sought to enjoin television exhibi- 
tion with minor cuts for insertion of commercial breaks. Preminger claimed 
that any such deletions would detract from the artistic merit of the film, 
destroy its value, and damage his reputation. Under Preminger's contract, 
he reserved the right of final cut. There was no reference in the contract to 
any cutting or editing regarding television exhibition. The court ruled that 
Preminger's editing rights were limited to the original film and did not 
encompass television. Without any contractual provision regarding televi- 
sion, the court ruled that the parties implicitly incorporated the custom 
prevailing in the industry. The court found that the term "final cut" related 
only to the production phase of a film and not to television and that, with 
regard to television exhibition, it was normal and customary in the industry 
to make minor deletions in theatrical films both to accommodate time 
constraints and to insert commercials. The court also found that both parties 
were aware of the standard practice and the contract did not restrict it. The 
court did opine, however, that substantial cutting of a film might be 
improper. 

The Monty Python case also found a second basis for liability — violation 
of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. The court stated. "[T]he edited version 
broadcast by ABC impaired the integrity of appellants' work and repre- 
sented to the public as a product of appellants what was actually a mere 
caricature of their talents." A Section 43(a) claim based on mutilation was 
also held to state a good cause of action in a suit arising from the alleged 
garbling and distortion contained in the English language version of the 
German film Kamasutra. The co-author and director of the film claimed that 
major parts of the picture as originally produced in Germany were elimi- 
nated in the U.S. version, and a segment of approximately 25 minutes had 
been inserted without permission, resulting in gross distortion and mutila- 
tion of the screenplay. 

The reader should note the convergence between that aspect of the right 
of paternity relating to the right of an author to disclaim authorship of an 
altered version of his/her work and the right of integrity where the associa- 
tion between the author and the mutilated version is allegedly damaging to 
his/her reputation. 

The Kamasutra court also refused to dismiss a claim of invasion of the 
right of privacy as another basis to sue. Other legal bases that may be 
employed to prevent mutilation include unfair competition, libel, and 
breach of contract. In an old case, acourt refused todismiss aclaim of unfair 
competition brought by Olive Higgins Prouty. author of the novel Stella 
Dallas, against NBC for broadcast of radio skits using characters from the 
novel which Prouty alleged were of inferior artistic and commercial quality, 
deleterious to her reputation and the sale of her works. In a more recent case. 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



the author of an article on Barbara Walters who had granted the publisher 
a right to edit claimed that the magazine published an article substantially 
different in form and content and damaged his reputation. The court stated 
that although moral rights were not part of the U.S. copyright law, the author 
had properly pleaded causes of action for libel and breach of contract. The 
state fine arts laws and the proposed federal fine arts law noted above also 
generally proscribe distortion, mutilation, or alteration of such works. 

The state of the law with regard to both aspects of moral rights — paternity 
and integrity — points to the importance of contractual language. Where the 
contract clearly covers rights of credit and editing, these provisions will be 
enforced by the courts. Indeed, cases state that theories analogous to moral 
rights are superseded by the agreement of the parties as reflected in their 
contract. It is where the contracts are ambiguous or silent that the courts may 
(or may not) insert legal theories to fill the gaps. 

Independent film/videomakers must give consideration to these issues 
from two perspectives: first, as the acquiring party in agreements with 
underlying rights owners, screenwriters, composers, and directors; and 
second, as the granting party in agreements with studios and distributors. A 
film/videomaker must establish the respective credit and approval rights of 
the screenwriter, composer, and director he/she engages as well as the 
underlying rights owner of materials he/she is purchasing, keeping in mind 
that these rights must be acceptable to a prospective studio or distributor. 
The film/videomaker's own credit and approval rights must be established 
vis-a-vis the acquiring party. Film/videomakers should give thought to 
covering these points in the prevalently used deal memo, which is usually 
a summary of key provisions but often either does not cover, or fully flesh 
out, moral rights issues, in contrast to more thorough long form contracts. 
In many cases, a deal memo is not followed by a long form contract, so that 
the deal memo will represent the actual, and only, agreement of the parties. 

Contrary moral rights positions of directors and owners of motion 
pictures recently surfaced with respect to the issue of colorization of films, 
whereby black and white films are redone in color by means of computer 
technology. Directors have objected to this process as a distortion of films 
that fundamentally changes their artistic quality. A bill was introduced in 
the House, known as the Film Integrity Act of 1 987, which would prohibit 
colorization of films without the written consent of the artistic authors. 
Senate hearings were held in 1 987 where the Directors Guild and prominent 
directors Sydney Pollack, Woody Allen, and Milos Forman testified against 
film colorization. In recent hearings concerning Berne Convention legisla- 
tion Steven Spielberg and George Lucas cited the colorization issue as an 
example of why an express moral rights provision should be added to the 
U.S. Copyright Act to protect writers, directors, and artists. Production 
companies and colorizing companies argued that they should be allowed to 
take advantage of new technology, that the old films would still be available 
in their original black and white form, that the original films were not solely 
the end product of the directors' creativity, and that colorized versions 
would promote greater dissemination of the works, allowing the public to 
make its own choice about which version it preferred. In the interim, in June 
of 1 987. the Copyright Office issued regulations permitting the registration 
of colorized versions of films. 

• • * 

Having reviewed the status of moral rights under U.S. law, we can now 
return to the Berne Convention and the question of U.S. adherence. Four 
bills have been introduced in Congress that would amend the Copyright Act 
and enable the U.S. to join the Berne Convention. 

Three bills— H.R. 2962, S. 1301, and S. 1971— would not incorporate 
any moral rights provisions in the Copyright Act. Advocates of these bills 
maintain that the totality of alternative legal theories as discussed above 
afford sufficient moral rights protection and satisfy the Berne requirements. 
Proponents of this approach further argue that, although the Berne moral 
rights provision speaks of safeguarding moral rights by "legislation," 
judicial decisions are an adequate substitute for federal legislation. 

Only one bill, H.R. 1623, would expressly legislate a right of paterniu 
and a right of integrity as part of the Copyright Act. Proponents of this 



approach argue that the amalgam of law concerning moral rights issues does 
not clearly define the availability or extent of protection, lacks uniformity 
and predictability, and is not sufficiently protective of the interests of 
authors. However, even the lone bill supporting express recognition of 
moral rights contains three important limitations (or loopholes) of interest 
to film/videomakers which hinge on contract language. First, moral rights 
would not apply to works made for hire. A work made for hire is either a 
work prepared by an employee within the scope of his/her employment or 
a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as part of certain 
categories of works, including motion pictures, provided that the parties 
agree in writing that it is to be considered a work made for hire. Screenwrit- 
ers and directors are customarily engaged on an employment for hire basis. 
There is a question whether this employment for hire exception, which 
would denude the natural author or creator of his/her moral rights, is 
consistent with the general principles of the Berne Convention. 

Second, H.R. 1623 would provide that moral rights can be waived by 
contract. In situations where the acquiring party has superior bargaining 
power, the granting party may be forced to contract these rights away. 
Clauses similar to the following are commonly found in motion picture 
related agreements: "Producer shall have the right to adapt, edit, cut. 
augment, or combine with other materials, translate, dub and otherwise alter 
the film, and grantor hereby waives any right of 'droit moral' or similar 
right." There is some dispute about whether the language of the Berne 
provision would permit such waiver. (Such question also remains under the 
present state of the law, which permits contractual waiver.) 

Third, this bill would provide the following limitation on moral rights: 

In the absence of a contract to the contrary, or notice by the author of a work at the 
time the author consents to the use of the work, the necessary editing, arranging, or 
adaptation of the work for publication or use in printed or machine-readable form, 
in broadcasting, in motion pictures, or in phonorecords, in accordance with custom- 
ary standards and reasonable requirements of preparing the work for dissemination, 
shall not constitute an infringement of any of an author's moral rights. 

Unless the contract expressly excludes it, a work could be edited and 
adapted in accordance with customary industry standards. 

Congressional hearings were held in 1 987 and in February and March of 
this year. The entertainment industry has been divided on the issue of 
adherence to Berne and moral rights. While motion picture interests, 
including the Motion Picture Association of America, have generally been 
in favor of adherence to Berne, the various parties do not fully agree on 
moral rights. Generally, writers and directors have favored the approach of 
clearly incorporating moral rights as part of the copyright law . while motion 
picture owners and production companies have advocated the "minimalist" 
approach of relying on the present body of U.S. law. Representative Robert 
Kastenmeier (D-Wisconsin), who introduced the sole Berne bill that would 
expressly legislate a moral rights provision, has recently indicated that he 
now favors the "minimalist" approach and has introduced an amendment to 
his own bill deleting the moral rights clause. It now appears that if Berne 
implementation legislation is passed, which is likely, there will be no moral 
rights provision added to the Copyright Act. 

For independent film/videomakers, the importance of covering moral 
rights issues in contracts cannot be overemphasized. If a Berne bill does not 
pass, or if the "minimalist" approach is enacted, the present status of the law . 
which is principally influenced by the agreement reached between the 
parties, will govern. Prudence dictates upfront consensual resolution of 
these points by contract in order to avoid later disputes and possible 
litigation. 



Robert C. Harris is an attorney with the New York City firm of Leavy 
Rosensweig & Hyinan, which specializes in entertainment and copyright 
law and represents independent film producers. 

I IWXRobcrlC. Harris 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



FESTIVALS 

BEVERLY HILLS SWAP: 

THE 1988 AMERICAN FILM MARKET 




Step this way to the 
1988 American 
Feature Market. AFM 
offered everthing 
from slasher movies 
to foreign prestige 
product in the hotel 
rooms and suites of 
the Beverly Hills 
Hilton, rented for the 
occasion by film 
producers and 
distributors from 
around the world. 

Courtesy Dennis Davidson 
Associates 



Noreen Ash Mackay 

Ms. Sex and Mr. Violence celebrated their union 
in an explosion of horror movies at the American 
Film Market '88, held at the Hilton Hotel in 
Beverly Hills. Dapper delegates from all over the 
world came to register their respect and get their 
tickets to the Ride of Terror, which took up five 
floors of the hotel. Before embarking on the 
elevator, I took refuge in what became a sepulchre 
of sanity, a circle of astro turf open to Holly- 
wood's blue sky where I sat at a table between a 
fountain and a semi-circle buffet of cold cuts, 
salads, fruit, and deserts. Having gathered one of 
each of the myriad press kits being handed out, I 
had a coffee and waded through the special edi- 
tions of the Hollywood Reporter and Screen Inter- 
national, as well as the three-inch thick issue of 
Variety that accompanies such meets as this. In 
all, I encountered hundreds of full page ads for 
films on sale at the AFM, announcing what await- 
ed me upstairs. 

All the hotel rooms and suites — for which 
"sellers" in occupancy had paid $3,500 to $1 8,500, 
in addition to a hefty S4.000 participation fee for 
non-members of the American Film Market As- 



sociation ( AFMA members were charged $2,000 
for participation, but they also pay $5,000 to join 
and $3,000 annual dues) — left their doors open 
onto the darkened hallways. From each a televi- 
sion set exuded excruciating distortions of sound 
and chiaroscuro color at the passing audience. 
Although the word at AFM was that the number of 
"horror genre" pictures has greatly decreased 
from "one-third of all product presented," most of 
the examples in the other dominant categories of 
"drama" and "action-adventure" fit just as snugly 
under the heading "horrific." 

Was there anything worthwhile at AFM '88? 
Yes. The official statement from AFM director 
Tim Kittleson was, "There is a lot more class in 
this year's selection." Cineplex Odeon boasted 
The Glass Menagerie, directed by Paul Newman, 
Shirley MacLaine in Madame Sousatzka, and 
Prince: Sign o the Times. In another suite (and 
juxtaposed in a two page spread of Daily Variety), 
J&M Entertainment presented Diane Keaton in 
The Lemon Sisters alongside The Return of the 
Swamp Thing as well as already established titles 
like Ironweed. Quality was evident in many of the 
films from foreign contingents. The Japanese 
company Shochiku was on hand with Hachi-Ko, 
a film that features the love between a doa and its 



master. The French UGC Export showed Claude 
Chabrol's Alouette, Je Te Plumeria. Their promo 
package for Les Annees Sandwiches describes a 
film "without sex or violence, without cops, 
drugs. ..the story deals with what counts most in 
life." And Cine International was on hand with a 
film by Werner Herzog featuring Klaus Kinski as 
Cobra Verde. 

Claudie Cheval, a rep for Futura Films also 
from West Germany, discussed the reasons be- 
hind showing quality or specialty films at AFM. 
She believes that the importance of the American 
Film Market is its chronological proximity to the 
Berlin Film Festival. "It's a continuation. We 
finalize here what we negotiated in Berlin." She 
cited, in particular, the award-winning Island 
Pictures release Baghdad Cafe, a surrealistic, 
sophisticated satire. She believes, as does Roger 
Vadim — with whom I spoke at the Monterey 
Festival and who was showing his remake of And 
God Created Woman at AFM — that English (or 
"Americanese") is the international language of 
film. "It gives more commercial possibilities in 
more territories." 

Several filmmakers present at AFM but too 
"independent" — that is. too poor — to be exhibit- 
ing are aware of the compromises that such state - 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



PHILADELPHIA'S BRIGHTEST COLOR 1ST 



is performing film-to-tape magic 
on the Bosch FDL 60-B2. 

Come let Joe Lowe work miracles 
with your film only at .. . 



STEWART FILM & VIDEO 

% E.J. STEWART, INC. 

PHILADELPHIA (215) 626-6500 



Trusted by Professionals since 1970 



SUMMER WORKSHOPS 

The Leading Summer School for Film and Video Professionals 

One-Week Master Classes 

The Camera Workshop 



The Directors Workshop 

The Script Writing Workshops 

The Film Directors Master Class 

The Film Directing Workshop 

Acting Techniques for Directors 

The Film Acting Workshop 

Editing The Feature Film 

The Production Mgrs./Assistant 

Directors Workshop 

The Sound Recording Workshop 



Lighting & Cinematography 
The Steadicam Workshops 
Corporate Video Production 
Electronic Cinematography 
Film Lighting for Video Production 
The Video Editing Workshop 
The TV Commercial Workshop 
The TV Hard News Workshop 
The TV News Feature Workshop 



The Workshops offer 50 one- and two-week professional classes each Summer taught by the industry's leading directors, producers, 
cinematographers, camera operators, actors, and technicians - many who have won Oscars. Courses run June 1 through August 15. 1988. 

Write or call for your free copy of our 40-page catalogue 

The International 



Film & Television 

WORKSHOPS 

Rockport, Maine 04856 (207) 236-8581 

These programs supported by ARRIFLEX. KODAK & Panavision 

Additional support from Cinema Products, ROSCO. Tiffen, OSRAM, Lowel, Matthews, Sachtler, O'Connor, and Panther 



ments imply and are prepared to make it by 
producing exploitation movies. However, Lau- 
rence Keane of Utopia Pictures believes that 
making and showing his high quality, good-look- 
ing movie Samuel Lount will give him more 
credibility as a serious filmmaker than making an 
exploitation film. He was at the AFM with a 
promo package for his latest venture, Weirdos, a 
sci-fi "metaphysical" comedy. "There is no value 
in doing anything you don't believe in, but a film 
should be something that answers to the market- 
place, a balance of art and commerce," he said. 
Keane and his producer/partner Elvira Lount 
conducted most of their business in the hotel 
lobby, since they didn't want to fork out $500 for 
a visitor's badge and security measures taken at 
AFM are very rigorous. Lount sees AFM, along 
with the other major markets like MIP-TV in 
Cannes, MIFED in Milan, Montreal, Berlin, and 
Banff, as the best places to make contacts. Before 
leaving AFM, Utopia received an offer from a 
banker whom Lount and Keane "met in Cannes 
and ran into in the lobby." It is important to 
"become a face, someone they know is going to be 
around, a survivor. This gives you credibility, 
you're taken seriously," Lount said. And she 
listed the companies on the commercial end of 
specialty and quality films: Spectra, Skouras, 
Hemdale, Vestron, Vidmark, and Hand Made as 
companies that take more risks. 

Hand Made's director of foreign sales in the 
U.S. George Ayoub reckons, "The AFM is the 
best and worst experience for an independent 
filmmaker." He maintains there are new markets 
opening up for quality films in the Far East and 
South America, and that the AFM is the worst 
place to present a project. "Developmental people 
don't come here, it's a business market interested 
in selling. They're too busy to talk. But you can 



learn, meet your peers, hear about what other 
people are up to. You can get the nod here, but the 
ink's not going to dry on the paper." 

Much discussion at AFM is not geared directly 
towards struggling independents but might never- 
theless bear attention. The first Roundtable Dis- 
cussion of AFM '88 was "Whither Wall Street? 
The Prospect of Motion Picture Financing since 
the October Crash." Harvey Weinstein of Mi- 
ramax observed that, in the short term, the finan- 
cial woes of Wall Street will hurt everyone, but the 
long haul will separate the strong from the strug- 
gling. "Miramax is in an expansion mode, and 
we're looking to co-finance with international 
filmmakers." The second AFM Roundtable was 
"How Will Satellite Transmission Impact the 
International Market?" The consensus on all 
counts was that the devalued dollar creates a more 
affordable U.S. product for foreign buyers. An- 
other area of primary concern to market-goers 
was video piracy. William Shields, American 
Film Market Association chair, named this and 
the ongoing campaign to curb these practices as a 
major issue facing those attending the market. 
Jonas Rosenfield, president of AFMA, chaired a 
meeting where representatives of major industry 
associations agreed to create a "carnet de pas- 
sage," a film passport, to counter the use of forged 
contracts and licenses. 

At the press conference for the director of 
China's Film Bureau and officials of the China 
Film Import and Export, many a mouth watered 
with the prospect of a billion Chinese potential 
VCR owners. A more valuable press conference 
for independent producers was that given by 
Alexander Kamshalov, chair of Goskino — the 
government agency for the motion picture and 
home video industry in the USSR. He announced, 
"Russians have come to the U.S. screens and have 



no intention to leave," adding that the parallel 
situation now exists for U.S. films in his country. 
He voiced an interest in coproductions and named 
several already underway, encouraging 
filmmakers to make direct contact should they 
have projects which they felt would be appropri- 
ate. He said, "There are no films left on the shelf 
[a metaphorical place for banned films] and no 
forbidden subject." But. he added, the Soviets are 
mainly interested in documentaries — "the first 
films that reflect our perestroika policy and we 
would like to see them on American TV." 

The Location Expo, held concurrently with 
AFM, is very valuable to all filmmakers. On the 
ground floor of the Beverly Hilton most U.S. state 
film commissions and many of their Canadian 
counterparts had stalls where they distributed 
maps as well as information on rebates and ac- 
commodation breaks and their scouting services 
for filmmakers. Maggie Christie, associate direc- 
tor of AFM, spoke about the phenomenon of state 
governments' awareness of the tremendous reve- 
nues that film productions can generate: "The role 
of the filmmaker is to show the world to the world. 
The viewer is likely to want to go there on the next 
vacation. The film commissions have become 
associated with tourist boards. You tell them what 
you want, and they'll find it." 

There are new plans afoot to hold a second 
AFM in Los Angeles in the fall. The fees for 
attending two events such as AFM every year may 
be steep by independent standards, but there is 
something to be said for immersion in the belly of 
the beast, where, even from the sidelines, famili- 
arity with the movie trade may prove useful. 

Noreen Ash Mackay is currently finishing a docu- 
mentary and teaches documentary filmmaking in 
New York City. 



WHERE THE ACTION WAS: 
AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS IN BERLIN 



Kathryn Bowser 



Internationally recognized as one of the world's 
major and most influential festivals, the Berlin 
Film Festival premieres over 400 films from 40 
countries each year, with an emphasis on avant- 
garde, noncommercial, and other independently 
produced films. For independent producers, it 
provides an electric atmosphere of high visibility 
and critical reception. Each year a large number of 
U.S. independent film- and videomakers have 
journeyed to Berlin with work covering the spec- 
trum from features to documentaries to shorts. 
The festival's concurrent market is a massive 
venue, where over 7,000 accredited film industry 
and press representatives meet to screen new 



work and negotiate deals. Berlin has the world's 
second largest festival market after Cannes, and 
has generally been regarded as the market venue 
most amenable to U.S. independent films. 

Confronted with the high-power sales pitches 
of various foreign national film organizations — 
ads in Variety and the FilmFest Journal, booths 
with large amounts of glossy paper, promotional 
parties, and so forth — U.S. independents at the 
festival had no comparable base from which to 
market their films. In 1986, with these facts in 
mind, Lynda Hansen, director of the Artists New 
Works Program at the New York Foundation for 
the Arts, attended the festival to negotiate with 
festival organizers for U.S. representation in the 
market. While there, she encountered Robert 
Aaronson, then the Foundation for Independent 



Video and Film's Festival Bureau director, and 
proposed that NYFA and FI VF work together on 
a coordinated effort to set up a structure for 
repping U.S. independent work at the festival. 
Hansen was interested in providing a support for 
the filmmakers whose work premiered there and 
encouraging coproduction agreements, distribu- 
tion deals, and the exchange of ideas between the 
U.S. filmmakers and the international film com- 
munity. 

Earlier in the festival's history, independent 
filmmaker Jon Jost set up a booth called Associa- 
tion for Unassociated Filmmakers in 1980. The 
booth was established to represent three 
filmmakers — not all from the U.S. — and it was 
spontaneously enlarged to serve about 12 people 
who joined during the festival. Jost subsequently 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



organized a similar booth with about 30 
filmmakers from around the world for the next 
two festivals. In 1 983-84 the Independent Feature 
Project initiated a U.S. independent booth in 
Berlin, but later refocused its attention on Cannes, 
which resulted in Le Salon du Cinema 
Independent at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival. 

In the summer of 1986 Hansen and Aaronson 
met with festival codirector Moritz de Hadeln, 
and he gave the go-ahead to NYFA and FI VF. He 
agreed to provide a small booth and some in-kind 
contributions to get it underway. Together with 
other festival personnel as collaborators, the 
concept of a NYFA/FIVF booth took shape as a 
consortium with four other organizations partici- 
pating. Following the announcement of the proj- 
ect, however, the response from filmmakers and 
organizations was so strong that the idea quickly 
mushroomed into a nationwide network of 26 
organizations supporting 30 festival filmmakers 
as well as a mechanism to support international 
coproductions and distribution of films at the 
1987 festival. The 1987 American Independents 
in Berlin (AIB) initiative resulted in a strong 
network of support for the U.S. independent 
filmmakers at the festival. Market screenings of 
festival films for producers, distributors, and 
exhibitors were organized, and a full-scale adver- 
tising and publicity campaigns for the project was 
launched. 

This year AIB expanded considerably — coor- 
dinated by Hansen, her assistant at NYFA Lisa 
Overton, and me. The consortium grew to 35 
organizations, and a new component was added: 
19 non-festival feature films were represented in 
the market by AIB, giving international exposure 
to filmmakers not included in the festival's selec- 
tions. With the nearly 30 festival films selected for 
the Panorama and International Forum sections 
(14 of which were also scheduled in the market), 
as well as the 19 non-festival market films, AIB 
represented the greatest number of entries from a 
single country. The booth provided a base for this 
diverse group, whose films spanned the range 
from very low budget ($5,000) to several million 
dollars. Market director Beki Probst noted, "The 
echo is very positive.... We're glad they were 
present with such an important package." 

"The market booth provided a home base and 
was extremely useful in making information 
about my film Missile available and in running a 
professional screening," said Frederick Wise- 
man, whose film was scheduled in the Panorama 
and the market. IFP's Karen Arikian concurred on 
the importance of the booth, commenting that 
there was "a feeling of community that the AIB 
developed that is very special." Robert Stone, 
whose Radio Bikini was booked into the market 
(and received an Academy Award nomination 
during the course of the festival), thought thai the 
booth was invaluable and that navigating the 
festival "would have been a nightmare without 
it." Jennifer Fox, whose Beirut: The Last Home 
Movie was selected for the Forum, agreed thai the 
booth was "absolutely vital. It provided a meeting 



Tbny Stewart's 

JJOME 



OFFICE 



Software for Freelancers 

Expenses . . . 

Invoices . . . 

Contact File and Mailing List . . . 

. . . linked together to save you time and money. Organize expenses by category and project: 
design your invoice with the flexibility of a word processor; attach itemized expenses to 
invoices; store names, addresses and client notes; mailing labels, income and expense reports, 
phone call tickler, job terms, much more. 

$40 (plus $3.30 NYS tax) buys a limited-data version of the program. Use it for 30 days. If 
you like it. pay additional $90 to unlock your copy. If not, return disks and manual for a full 
refund. You can't lose! 

Tony Stewart's HOME OFFICE 

309 West 109th Street. No. 2E 

New York, NY 10025 

(212) 222-4332 

Requires: IBM PC or compatible with 512K memory; hard disk recommended. Not copy protected. 
Make check payable to "Tony Stewart's HOME OFFICE." 3'/ 2 " disks available ($4.00 extra). 




Help Yourself. Join AIVF today! 



We have what 
you want... 

the competitive edge on insurance 
programs for the entertainment & 
communication industries. 




Get to know us! 







Insurance Specialists 

Contact 0«nnii Reifl 

221 West 57 Street NY.NY 10019 (212) 603-0231 | 



Call or write: 

625 Broadway, 9th floor 

NY. New York I (XI I 2 
(212)473-3400 



The Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 




place, a place to meet other filmmakers." Loni 
Ding, whose documentary film The Color of 
Honor was booked in the market, commented on 
the amount of activity at the booth. "Even if you 
were not American", she said, "you had to go to 
the booth. People clustered around it like moths 
around light. It was the liveliest booth, extremely 
friendly and helpful, and the center of attention 
not only for us, but also for other countries." 

Phil Zwickler, who codirected Rights and 
Reactions: Lesbian and Gay Rights on Trial with 
Jane Lippman, noted that the booth was especially 
important for new filmmakers unfamiliar with the 
layout of the festival, providing them with a place 
to leave and receive messages and get the infor- 
mation necessary for contacts and meetings. 
Gerald L'Ecuyer, whose short The Critical Years' 
was programmed in the Panorama, found that the 
market atmosphere was weighted in favor of fea- 
tures and that short filmmakers had to work espe- 
cially hard. He advised short filmmakers to brace 
themselves for an arena geared to features and to 
come prepared with plenty of publicity materials 
and an eagerness to do a lot of self-promotion. 

AlB's purpose at the festival was to generate, 
as a group, the information, publicity, opportuni- 
ties, and energy that are impossible to achieve 
individually. Hundreds of posters and glossy, 
illustrated catalogues containing descriptions of 
consortium members and films were distributed. 
Flyers, posters, and press kits were displayed, and 
full-page advertisements in Variety and the Berlin 
Film Festival Journal complemented these pub- 
licity materials. Booth representatives attended 
each market screening, keeping records on atten- 
dees and passing this information to the film- 
makers for follow-up. 

A press conference on the participations con- 
sortium organizations was held by the festival. 
AIB arranged for Joy Pereths of the International 
Film Exchange to meet with the filmmakers and to 
provide them with a general introduction to the 
market. In addition, AlB's arrangement with the 
United States Information Agency for the ship- 
ping of market prints saved individual filmmakers 
hundreds of dollars. 

Several on-the-spot sales took place. Peter Ily 
Huemer, director of Kiss Daddy Goodnight, sold 
theatrical rights and an option for television and 



Americans in Berlin booth organiz- 
ers Kathryn Bowser of FIVF (seated 
left) and Lynda Hansen of NYFA 
(seated right), backed by film- 
makers (from left) Mark Daniels, 
Andrew Horn, Jon Jost, Alan 
Francovich, and Peter Ily Huemer. 



video to Kinowelt (Germany), Japanese video 
rights to Kuzui, television rights to Yugoslavia, 
video rights in Brazil, and Italian theatrical rights 
to Academy . Jennifer Fox received Indian, Dutch, 
and Finnish television offers, closed a deal with a 
French distributor for television and theatrical 
rights in France, and lined up numerous festival 
venues. Ken Ausubel, director of Hoxsey: Quacks 
Who Cure Cancer'?, signed a contract with Bravo 
for U.S. cable rights, and his European distributor 
is negotiating offers from England, France, and 
Ireland. Stone sold theatrical rights for Radio 
Bikini to Austria and theatrical and television 
sales to Finland and Switzerland. 

In addition to the films mentioned, participat- 
ing filmmakers included: 

( in the Forum ) Bell Diamond and Plain Talk and Com- 
mon Sense (Uncommon Senses), by Jon Jost; The Big 
Blue, by Andrew Horn; Eyes on the Prize: America's 
Civil Rights Years 1954-1965, by Henry Hampton; The 
Houses Are Full of Smoke, by Alan Francovich; Signed: 
.Lino Brocka, by Christian Blackwood; (in the 
Panorama) AIDS and the Arts, by Lee Koromvokis; 
Dream City, by Steven Siegel; Hairspray, by John 
Waters; Haiti: Dreams of Democracy, by Jonathan 
Demme; Imagine and Steps, by Zbigniew Rybczynski; 
//; the Land of the Owl Turds, by Harrod Blank; Infer- 
mental 7. a video program from Hallwalls Arts Center; 
Inheritance, by Bill Donovan; Landlord Blues, by 
Jacob Burckhardt; Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist, 
by Judy Chaikin; No Sense of Crime, by Julie Jacobs: 
Paradise Bar, by Christian von Tippelskirch; Rachel 
River, by Sandy Smolan; Sign o' the Times, by Prince; 
Talking to Strangers, by Robert Tregenza; Urge, by 
Billy Lux; (in the Market) Astonished, by Jeff Kahn and 
Travis Preston; Blueberry Hill, by Strathford Hamilton: 
Border Radio, by Allison Anders, Kurt Voss, and Dean 
Lent; Fire from the Mountain, by Deborah Shaffer; 
Girltalk, by Kate Davis; Heat and Sunlight, by Rob 
Nilsson; A Hungry Feeling: The Life and Death of 
Brendan Behan, by Allan Miller; The Influence of 
Strangers (genealogy), by Mark Daniels: King James 
Version, by Robert Gardner; Mondo New York, by 
Harvey Keith; She Must Be Seeing Things, by Sheila 
McLaughlin; Suicide Club, by James Bruce; Sweet 
Lorraine, by Steve Gomer; and Three Bewildered 
People in the Night, by Gregg Araki. Costs for the effort 
were covered by the participating organizations and 
filmmakers, and individual and corporate sponsors, 
including George Gund, Angelika Films. American 
Playhouse. TVC Labs, Fox/Lorber Associates, and 
Filmtext (The Hague). 

Based on its successes at the festival and the 
overwhelmingly positive response from 
filmmakers and buyers alike. AIB organizers are 
now considering similar ventures in other major 
international markets. 



IN BRIEF 



The "In Brief" listings are compiled by 
Kathryn Bowser, director of FIVF's 
Festival Bureau. Listings do not consti- 
tute an endorsement & since some 
details change faster than we do, 
we recommend that you contact 
the festival for further information 
before sending prints or tapes. If your 
experience differs from our account, 
please let us know so we can im- 
prove our reliability. 



DOMESTIC 



Blacklight: A Festival of Black Intl Cinema, Jul. 
28-Aug. 7, IL. Since 1982 this noncompetitive fest has 
programmed series of recent int'l independent produc- 
tions focusing on the black experience: works by black 
producers or films that present black subject matter in 
interesting or unusual forms. It brings together works by 
indie black filmmakers from US, Africa, South Pacific 
& Europe. Its "Views From Outside: The Black Image 
in Int'l Cinema" has shown works from England. Japan, 
France & Brazil. This will be founder Floyd Webb's 
last yr as director of the fest & he plans retrospective of 
the work of Souleymane Cisse & program of feature 
films from Burkino Faso. Short films by new black in- 
dependent filmmakers are welcomed. Program held in 
conjunction with Film Center of Art Institute of Chi- 
cago & DuSable Museum of African History. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, S-8. special video section. Contact: 
Floyd Webb, Blacklight, 53 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 
343, Chicago, IL 60604; (312) 922-7771. 

Intercom Industrial Film & Video Festival, Octo- 
ber. IL. Oldest national fest accepting sponsored indus- 
trial productions, now in 24th yr. Organized by Cinema 
Chicago, which also produces Chicago Film Festival. 
Entries accepted in 8 competitive subject cats & over 35 
sub-cats encompassing such areas as sales. PR. train- 
ing, human relations, counselling, sciences & fundrais- 
ing. 150 industry professionals act as judges, awarding 
Gold & Silver Hugos to top productions in each cat. film 
& video; gold & silver plaques & certificates of merit 
also~awarded. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Fees: 
$85 film, S80 video. Deadline: May 30. Contact: Inter- 
com. 415 N. Dearborn St.. Chicago. IL 60610; (312) 
644-3400; telex 253655. 

Mill Valley Film Festival. Oct. 6-13, CA. Entering 
2nd decade as dependable venue for exhibition of all 
varieties of independent work from throughout the 
world, with particular emphasis on US films & videos. 
Last yr theme was social justice, w/ docs & features as 
well as tributes & seminars centering on theme. Pro- 
gram incl. salute to US independents, Les Blank & 
Hemdale Film & featured several world premieres of 
US & foreign films.This yr. video section will be part 
of the program. Deadline: June 30. Contact: Mark 
Fishkin, artistic director. Mill Valley Film Festival & 
Videofest, 80 Lomita Dr.. Suite 20. Mill Valley. CA 
94941; (415) 383-5256. 

New York Film Festival, Sept. 23-Oct. 9. NY. Pre- 
sented for 26th yr by Film Society of Lincoln Center, 
this respected fest has served throughout its history as 
a launching point for successful release of many int'l 
films. Many also celebrate their world premieres during 
fest, which engenders wide public participation & re- 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 




PUBLICATIONS 



Independent Feature Film Production Goodell S9.95 
Legal structure and financing, the pre-production package, the production 
process, post-production distribution and marketing, and samples of 
limited partnership agreements and budgets. 

The Independent Film and Videomakers Guide Wiese $16.95 
Advice on film and video financing, investor presentations and limited 
partnerships. Writing a prospectus, market research, finding distributors, 
negotiating, income projections, list of buyers of non-theatre films, pay 
and foreign tv, and home video, contacts for music video. 

Film and Video Budgets Wiese $16 95 

How to prepare budgets for low budget features, commercials, shorts, 
music videos, pay tv segments. Sample budgets, practical advice and 
money saving tips. 

Home Video: Producing for the Home Market Wiese SI 6 95 
Advice on the successful development and distribution of original home 
video programs. New marketing opportunities for independent producers. 

The Copyright Primer for Film and Video Sparkman S3 50 
Practical copyright information, what does or doesn't need a copyright, 
registration procedure, exceptions and a sample release. 

Selected Issues in Media Law Mayer $2 50 

Legal information on copyrights, option agreements, distribution contracts- 

and a glossary of legal terms. 

Ship Shape Shipping Lidell S3 00 

Practical advice on international transport of film and video tapes. 

Get the Money and Shoot Jackson $20.00 
How to obtain government, corporate and foundation grants, how to 
write a proposal, and budgets. Film production from start to finish. 
Reading list. 

Before You Shoot Garvy $10.00 

Decision making and organizing for the production side of filmmaking. 

Sponsors: A Guide for Video and Filmmakers 

Goldman/Green $600 

Ways to identify potential sponsors, tax implications, advantages and 
disadvantages, establishing good working relationships, sample letters of 
agreement, list of media service organizations, and bibliography. 

Producer's Masterguide '87 $15.00 
An eighty dollar value! 

AIVF Guide to International Film and Video Festivals 

Aaronson $15.00 

Compilation of two years of festival columns published in The 
Independent. Over three hundred festivals in the US and abroad. 
Complete profiles, contacts and fees. Photocopy. 



AIVF Guide to International Film and Video Festivals 

Bowser $1950 

The new 1988 up to date edition of the Festival Guide. Soon to be 

published. Pre-orders are being taken nowl Postage and handling 

included. 

Doing It Yourself: A Handbook on Independent Film Distribution 

Reichert/Rothschild S6.00 

The nuts and bolts of self distribution. Topics include promotion, 

types of costs, bookings, running an office, and more. Photocopy. 

AIVF Guide to Film and Video Distributors Guzzy/Lidell S6.00 
Profiles one hundred distribution companies. Indexed for genre/subjects, 
market (and foreign) target audiences, and companies that provide 
completion funding. Photocopy. 

Back issues of The Independent $3.00 
(includes postage and handling) 




CASSETTES 




AIVF is proud to announce its new audio tape series. These are actual live 
recordings of our seminars with no holds barred. Audience questions to 
the panel are included also. In the coming months, new recordings will 
be available on topics of vital importance to the independent, from 
aesthetics to business concerns. 



Wow Available! 

Festival Circuit Confidential $12 00 (2 tapes) 
The international film and video circuit is an important entry point for 
independents into foreign markets. This taped seminar brings together 
professionals familiar with international festivals and trends in overseas 
marketing options. A great companion to the AIVF Festival Guide' 

Docs to Drama $1200 (2 tapes) 

Why are many documentanans switching to dramatic works'? Producers 

discuss the aesthetic and practical challenges of "crossing over" 



Send check or money order, or charge to your Mastercard or Visa, along 
with S2.00 postage and handling. $1 00 per additional item for all 
publications. All cassette prices include postage and handling. AIVF 625 
Broadway. 9th Floor. New York. NY 10012 




For your next recording 
session when you can mix at 

V & W/CUTTING EDGE for 



and we're talking quality stuff - 1 6 or 35mm - 

up to ten tracks - mag or stripe - we've been 

doing right by our customers for 25 years. 

Novice or Maven, *student or pro, short or 

feature film, we'll give you a quality mix at a 

budget price plus a narration booth; transfers; 

film opticals; Steenback and KEM editing 

machines (in house or location rentals); 

cutting rooms, all at Cutting Edge 

630 Ninth Ave, NYC, N.Y. 10036 

the independent filmmakers one stop 
post production house 

(212)757-5221 

* we allow student discounts 



oasis 

Video Postproduction 
Services for Independents 

Logging Systems Design 

Off-Line Editing 

and 

Audio Mixing 

Edit List Creation 

On-Line Planning 

and 
Edit Production 

All Formats 



Now Available 

SUPER-VHS EDITING 

and interf ormat w/VHS 

VHS Dubs 

from 3/4", VHS, Beta I, 8mm 

(212) 675-2A77 



sponse. Last yr 99% of tickets sold out before opening. 
Program committee this yr chaired by Richard Pena. 
formerly director of Film Center at the School of 
Chicago's Art Institute & now program director of LC 
Film Society. Other members incl. Wendy Keys of the 
Film Society; Carrie Rickey, film critic; David Sterritt, 
film critic & chair of New York Film Critics' Circle & 
Philip Lopate, film critic & programmer. Lillian 
Jimenez to be consultant for US independent films. 
Final selection for program is 25 films, selected from 
dramatic, documentary, animated, short & experimen- 
tal entries shown at other festivals during preceding yr 
or outstanding new productions. Entries must be US 
premieres w/ no prior public, theatrical, or commercial 
exhibition or distribution. Formats: 35mm, I6mm: pre- 
view on 3/4". Deadlines: feature length films submitted 
on cassette, mid-June; feature length films submitted on 
film, early July; shorts (under 30 mins.). mid-July. 
Request applications & exact deadline dates in mid- 
May. Contact: Marian Masone. Film Society of Lincoln 
Center,l40 W. 65th St., New York, NY 10023; (212) 
877-1800. 

Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. Aug. 13-20. NY. 
Every yr film & videomakers from around the world 
retreat to the campus of Wells College in Aurora, NY, 
to debate & examine issues of filmmaking, specifically 
screening films & videos which "have reached out to 
touch the human spirit" & challenging the makers on 
the nature of their work. This is 34th yr. All films & 
tapes are selected by a different programmer each yr.; 
this role will be played by Julie Levinson. Institute of 
Contemporary Art, 955 Boylston St.. Boston, MA 
02115 for the '88 seminar. Write before submission. 
Material must not be sent w/out prior clearance from 
programmer. Deadline for completion of selection: 
June 1. Seminar registration is open to all w/ profes- 
sional interest in the field. Fee $550, incl. registration, 
housing, meals & materials. Participants expected to 
attend entire event. Some financial assistance avail- 
able, up to S400 (deadline May 1 5 for assistance appl.). 
For all info, contact: Esme I. Dick, administrative 
director. Robert Flaherty Seminar. 44 W. 56th St., 3d 
fl„ New York. NY 10019; (212) 582-0273/(203) 869- 
0445. 



FOREIGN 



Cork Intl Film Festival. Oct. 2-10, Ireland. Now in 
33rd yr. FIAF-recognized fest is very receptive to pro- 
gramming "wide panorama" of independent films from 
US & elsewhere. Last yr nearly 30 US independents 
represented. Noncompetitive, this is very much a film 
buff's event & screens films which otherwise might not 
be seen in Ireland. Last yr featured experimental film 
showcase from sister city San Francisco, as well as 
program of works by US film/videomaker Doris Chase. 
Fest programs wide range — features, documentaries, 
shorts, experimental, animation & student. Special 
video section recently added & fest aims to get "the 
mixture right, between the rough-edged & the glossy, 
the high-budget & the no-budget." Work must have 
been completed in 12 prior mos. Deadline: late July. 
Contact: Michael Hannigan/Theo Dorgan. codirectors. 
Cork Int'l Film Festival. Triskel Arts Center. Tobin 
Street, Cork, Ireland; tel: (021) 27171 1/275944: telex 
75390. 

Kijkhuis World Wide Video Festival, September, 
The Hague. Major showcase for int'l independent 
video, 8 day fest last yr received over 1 ,400 entries from 
50 countries, from which 94 works by 86 artists were 



selected: 10 were world premieres & most were Dutch 
premieres. Length of work varies from 5- 1 60 mins. The 
program takes place at several locations in the Hague & 
works are broadcast on local cable channels in the 
Hague, Wassenaar, Voorburg, Delft, Rotterdam & 
Groningen. Program last yr incl. installations & video 
performance. Int'l jury awards 3 prizes of 2,500 Dutch 
guilders ($1,190) each (for Dutch premieres), spon- 
sored by the Hague. Sony & Canon Europe. This is 7th 
yr & fest has established a reputation as major meeting 
place for videomakers, producers & distributors. All 
types of video art & docs accepted. Format: 3/4". 
Deadline: late June. Call or write before sending en- 
tries. Contact: Tom Van Vliet/Eric Quint, World Wide 
Video Festival, Noordeinde 140, 2514 GP Den Haag. 
Netherlands; tel (070) 644805. 

Midnight Sun Film Festival. June 16-20, Finland. 
Held in Sodankyla, a small community 200 miles north 
of the Arctic Circle in Lapland, this noncompetitive fest 
consists of "films by a few great masters who attend the 
festival as honorary guests" with retros of their films; 
past honorees have included Jim Jarmusch, Jonathan 
Demme. Juliet Berto. D.A. Pennebaker. Jeanne-Pierre 
Gorin, Tom Luddy & Bertrand Tavernier. who have led 
lectures & discussions. One fest auditorium is huge 
circus tent & screenings are held around the clock. 
Large local audience assured since cinema is only 
exhibition facility within a 400-mile radius. Formats: 
35mm. 16mm. Contact: Peter von Bagh. director. 
Midnight Sun Film Festival, Minna Canthin katu 20, 
00250 Helsinki, Finland: tel: (358) 0410294. 

Sao Paulo Intl Film Festival, Oct. 15-31. Brazil. 
With focus on independent & unconventional films, 
noncompetitive fest has featured growing number of 
US alternative feature & doc films during 12 yr run & 
has, according to Variety, become one of the most com- 
plete & respected film events in Brazil. Last yr over 60 
films which otherwise might not have had commercial 
distribution in Brazil screened & lineup incl. retros of 
D.A. Pennebaker. Rosa von Praunheim. Mrinal Sen & 
Derek Jarman, as well as a tribute to American film 
noir. Other entries came from throughout Western & 
Eastern Europe, Africa. India & Asia. Janet Forman, 
who attended w/ her film The Beat Generation, gave the 
fest high marks for its organization; she thought that it 
offered an "amazing" amount of coverage (articles on 
her &. her film appeared daily in the 7 major newspa- 
pers: fest had the articles translated & delivered to her 
in NY) & that the underlying purpose was truly for 
cultural benefit of Sao Paulo. Fest covers accomoda- 
tions in Sao Paulo for visiting directors. Program spon- 
sored by Sao Paulo Secretary of Culture & private 
companies & organized by film critic Leon Cakoff. 
Audiences estimated at over 120,000. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm. Deadline: mid-June. Contact: Leon Cakoff. 
director/Iara Lee, producer, Mostra Internacional de 
Cinema Sao Paulo. Al. Lorena, 937. Cj. 302. Sao Paulo 
01424, Brazil; tel (01 1) 883-5137. 

Tyneside Intl Festival of Independent Cinema. 
October. England. Last yr marked 10th anniv. of fest 
dedicated to int'l independent productions, particularly 
films & videos dealing with gay & lesbian experience 
& works from Spanish speaking world. Docs, features, 
shorts & films by new directors accepted; prizes to- 
talling £7000 awarded in cats of feature, short, regional 
production & video. Deadline: late June. Contact: Peter 
Packer, festival programmer. Tyneside Film Festival. 
10 Pilgrim St.. Newcastle upon Tyne. NE1 6QG. Eng- 
land; tel: (091) 232-8289. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 



Renee Tajima 



The village of El Cedro is in the heart of the contra 
war zone in Nicaragua's northern region. It has 
been attacked by the contras three times in the past 
six years. In June 1987, 10 former U.S. military 
men also arrived on the scene at El Cedro. Their 
purpose was not to prolong the war, but to help 
rebuild a health clinic destroyed in the attacks, and 
to learn what daily life is like for people living 
between bullets and bombs. Independent journal- 
ist Don North traveled to Nicaragua last year to 
document the work of the veterans of World War 
Two, Korea, and Vietnam, who are members of 
the Veterans Peace Action Team. The result is 
The War in El Cedro, a 50-minute film now 
available in home video from the filmmaker. In it, 
North explores the inner conflicts these veterans 
faced in Nicaragua, coming to grips with their 
own patriotism, U.S. foreign policy, and personal 
memories from combat on other continents. The 
War in El Cedro: Northstar Productions, 3003 O 
St., N.W., #1 . Washington, DC 20007; (202) 338- 
7337. 

Enrique Oliver has just released his first fea- 
ture, Lola La Loca, with a premiere at the Mu- 
seum of Fine Arts in Boston. Lola La Loca is the 
humorous story of a well-intentioned young so- 
cial worker's visit to an Hispanic housing devel- 
opment in Boston to check on her client's eligibil- 
ity for welfare. There, the woman stumbles into a 
puzzling society of outrageous characters acting 
within unfamiliar rules of behavior. Although the 
client Lola is not around, neighbors, lovers, 
friends, and enemies that the social worker meets 
each has a story to tell. Oliver wrote, directed, 
starred in. and coproduced the film with Martha 
Fowlkes. It was shot by Bobby Bukowski. with 
original music by Daniel Indart. Lola La Loca: 
Elegya Films, 835 Huntington Ave.. #1809, 
Boston, MA 02 1 1 5; (6 1 7) 522- 1460 or (6 1 7) 739- 
0721. 

Cowboy Poets, a new film by producer/direc- 
tor Kim Shelton, recently premiered at the Na- 
tional Educational Film & Video Festival. This is 
Shelton's second movie documenting contempo- 
rary cowboy culture: a celebration of a previously 
unrecognized folk tradition and a particular brand 
of poetry of the West. For 100 years, cowboys 
have belied the myth of macho that surrounds 
them by writing poetry about the life they love. 
The work of the three cowboy poets who are 
profiled in the film. Wally McRae, Slim Kite, and 
Waddie Mitchell, ranges from the threat of strip 
mining to the impossible dream of owning one's 
own ranch and the disappearance of the cowboy 
and his lifestyle. Cowboy Poets: Larsen Associ- 
ates. 1 Clyde Alley, San Francisco. CA 94107; 
(415)957-1205. 




Don North's film War in El 
Cedro features U.S. 
military veterans who 
travelled to the Nicara- 
guan war zone to help 
rebuild a health clinic 
destroyed by the 
contras. Pictured here is 
Veterans Peace Action 
Team member Bob 
Spitzer examining a sick 
Nicaraguan child. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Jamie Walters is currently in postproduction 
on Beat: The Performance Poetry of Chasen 
Gaver, a 28-minute video documentary on the 
work of the Washington-based artist. The tape 
culminates four years of collaboration between 
the videomaker and the poet, recording the inno- 
vative ways in which Gaver uses movement, 
percussion, and other performance elements to 
enhance the delivery of verse. The tape docu- 
ments Gaver' s work before live audiences, in- 
cluding his teaching experiences with junior high 
school students in Washington public schools, as 
well as studio recordings of poems. Funding for 
Beat came from the D.C. Commission on the Arts 
and Humanities, the Painted Bride Art Center, and 
private sponsors and donations. Beat: VFE Pro- 
ductions, 1750 16th St., NW,#808, Washington, 
D.C. 20009; (202) 265-4191. 

AIVF member Mary Ann Lynch coauthored 
and crewed on the production of Waging Peace 
with filmmakers Val Kim and Bruce Logan. The 
film will be a one-hour documentary recording 
the first trip to the U.S. by 15 Soviet youth, aged 
12 to 17, over the holiday season of December 
1 987 to January 1 988. The trip was sponsored by 
the Youth Ambassadors of America as part of a 
cultural exchange program between children of 
the two world powers. The entire crew, hailing 
from California, Hawaii, and New York, donated 
their services with equipment contributed by 
Clairmont Camera and Eclectic Enterprises. The 
crew accompanied the delegation to California. 
Washington State, and New York, and plans to 
shoot a follow-up meeting of Soviet and U.S. 
youth in Russia. Waging Peace: Oceans Fire 
Productions, Box 8406, Mission Hills. C A 9 1 346; 
(818) 893-9192, or Box 61672, Honolulu. HI 
96822; (808) 955-3223. 

Karil Daniels' 57-minute documentary. Wa- 
ter Babies: Experiences of Water Birth, has 
been winning awards on the festival circuit lor its 



examination of the use of water for labor, child- 
birth, and early childhood development. Shot on 
location in the Soviet Union, France, and the 
United States, the film provides information on 
various approaches to water birth, and shows how 
it takes place in home, hospital, and birth center 
settings, placing it in the context of the twentieth 
century gentle birth movement. The documentary 
includes interviews with doctors who have pio- 
neered the water birth method, as well as women 
who describe their own experiences. Water Baby: 
Karil Daniels, Point of View Productions, 2477 
Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94 1 1 0: (4 1 5) 82 1 - 
0435. 

The omnibus project of seven internationally 
reknowned women directors. Seven Women — 
Seven Sins, premiers theatrically this month in 
Chicago. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New 
York City. The project derives from the question. 
"What constitutes a deadly sin in this day and 
age?" posed by German television ZDF to seven 
directors selected to create their own renderings 
of "The Seven Deadly Sins." Each assigned them- 
selves a "sin." Helke Sanders' Gluttony begins 
with an animated story of Eve offering the apple 
to Adam, thus setting the tone for male/female 
relationships. Bette Gordon's Greed is a film noir 
mystery in which a ladies' lounge attendant's 
lottery ticket is destroyed by a "rich bitch." Maxi 
Cohen's Anger features various loathing New 
York types. Chantal Ackerman's Sloth features 
the filmmaker in bed complaining that she must 
get up and make a film about it. Valie Export's 
Lust is a baroque, pop music video about sex and 
consumerism. Laurence Gavron's Envy tracks a 
jealous composer who resorts to murder. And 
UlrikeOttinger's/VMfe combines bizarre archival 
footage of parades with a fantastic allegorical 
procession. Seven \\ omen — Seven Sins: Lauren 
Hyman, publicity, 25 BethuneSt., New York, NY 
10014; (212) 206-9107. 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independent's Classifieds col- 
umn includes all listings for "Buy • 
Rent • Sell," "Freelancers" & "Post- 
production" categories. It is re- 
stricted to memPers only. Each entry 
has a 250 character limit & costs $15 
per issue. Ads exceeding this length 
will Pe edited. Payment must Pe 
made at the time of submission. 
Anyone wishing to run a classified ad 
more than once must pay for each 
insertion & indicate the number of 
insertions on the submitted copy. 
Each classified ad must be typed, 
double-spaced & worded exactly 
as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of each 
month , two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., May 8 for the July issue. 
Make check or money order— no 
cash, please— payable to FIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 



We Specialize in Hard-to-Find Lenses, cameras & ac- 
cessories. Used equipment lists avail. Send inventory 
for quick fair-market evaluation. Economy camera, 
sound pkgs. & animation to suit your budget. Tony 
Zaza. Crosscountry Film Video. Inc.. 724 Bloomfield 
St.. Hoboken. NJ 07030: (201 ) 798-0949. 

Betacam Production Pkg: Consider using Betacam 
on your next shoot. Advantages of Betacam over 3/4" 
are obvious: almost double the resolution, time code 
editing & a true broadcast master. You can produce on 
Betacam with a budget only slightly higher than 3/4". 
For info on Betacam & 3/4" pkgs, call (212) 529-1254. 

Sony DXC-3000 for Sale: High quality 3 CCD cam- 
era with Canon 15:1 lens, case, cable, tripod adapter. 
List S8.290. sell for $5,000 firm. Call (212) 529-1254. 

Broadcast Quality Title Library: sharp, attractive 
titles at less than 25 cents each. Enhance your produc- 
tions with over 180 titles for Weddings. Sports. Holi- 
days & more. For free information, call: Capricorn 
Video Productions. Nat'l: 1 (800) 237-8400 Ext. 19: 
FL: 1 (800) 282-1469 Ext. 19. 

Off-Line Editing System: For rent, reasonable. new- 
Sony 3/4" system including mixer plus VHS & Beta 
dubbing capability. Available May-October, long-term 
rental preferred. (212) 765-8860. 

The Editors Notebook: IBM or Commodore program 
creates logs, edit lists in SMPTE or edge numbers. 
Calculates precise edge numbers for 1 6mm or 35mm 
neg conform to SMPTE allowing film edit from win- 
dow dubs or off-line video edit. Call Arthur Boudine 
(914) 693-8198. 

For Sale: JK optical printer, bought new 1 1/86. excel- 
lent condition. 2 lens, 16mm & S8mm gates, bolex rex 
5 camera. JK computerized sequencer. Call Dawn 



(216) 961-9367, or 229-0968: leave message. 

For Sale: FOR-A VTW 300 char. gen. B/W w/ color 
option. Ext. Sync or Genlock to video in. 16 pg. mem- 
ory. Roll, Crawl & Normal transitions. Wipe capable. 
Flash, auto center, edit insert. W/ monochrome monitor 
& manual. Can be used as a stand-alone DSK (will 
overlay video in). SlOOO/b.o. Mark (212) 619-2017. 

For Sale: 35mm Bell & Howell camera #15 ( 1917?): 
var. shutter, thru-lens viewing, w/ 50mm Cooke f/2.0 
lens, two 400' mags, animation motor, control, frame 
counter. $3700 or best offer. Skip Battaglia. (716) 475- 
2746 or (716) 244-9350. 

Tired of Dead Batteries? We custom design packs 
that run portable equipment for up to 12 hours or more. 
Safe, low weight, rechargeable, inexpensive and built 
specially for your gear and style. Compugenesis (718) 
937-7061. 

For Sale: Braun Nizo 6080 Super 8 camera. 
Absolutely deluxe, every extra imaginable. Mint condi- 
tion, used less than 1/2 dozen times. Great piece of 
equipment. Paid SI 500. Asking $1200 but will negoti- 
ate if I can be sure it will have a nice home! Must sell! 
Jacquie (212) 685-7151. 

For Sale: Sony video 8mm camera/recorder (CCD- 
V8AF) & accessories. Hardly used. $900. (212) 226- 
3428. 

For Sale: Moviola 6-pIate, flickerless prism 
(M86AH). instant start/stop circuit. Little use/new 
condition. $6200. (206) 328-2400. 



Freelancers 

Director/Cinematographer: 10th year specializing in 
unusual in-camera effects for complete 16mm music 
videos. Shoot, cut. transfer. Cost effective true artistic 
filmmaking. Arriflex, Ang.. Sachtler. Lowel, car. 40 
min. from NYC. Call for reel & rates. Gerard Yates 
(914) 764-8558. 

Video Production: Experienced crew with complete 
package, including Sony CCD Camera. BVU 1 10 with 
Time Code. Lowel DPs. Omnis & Totas. Full audio & 
many other extras. High quality VHS & 3/4" duplica- 
tion also available. Call (212) 319-5970. 

AC with Aaton available for your independent pro- 
duction. Incredibly low prices. Call (914) 234-7564. 

Sound Person with Nagra would like to work on your 
production. My rate is extremely low. Call (914) 234- 
7564. 

3/4" Video Production: Broadcast quality 3-tube Sony 
camera, deck, tripod, mikes, lights, background mate- 
rial, a/c van. w/ experienced cameraperson. very rea- 
sonable rates. Smart Video (212) 877-5545. 

Gaffer: 18' grip truck with loading room for camer- 
apersons. Lighting packages: 200W to 2K. generators. 
Call for information & rental prices. J. Anthony Pro- 
ductions (516) 294-1038. 

Original Music Award-winning composer/producer 
available for interesting & quality projects. Film or 
video. Experienced professional. Complete production 



services from composing to finished soundtrack. Rates 
depend on project. (914) 769-5734, Dennis Rivellino. 

Production Manager w/ casting experience & an of- 
fice in the heart of the film business is now available for 
your project. Features, industrials, commercials, music 
videos — no job too big or small. Call IFL (212) 315- 
3670. 

Media Consultant: Market your project successfully. 
Production-related assistance incl. fundraising. pack- 
aging, script/project doctoring, marketing strategies. 
Proposals & pitches for gov't grants, foundations. 
corps, individuals, studios, nets, int'l markets. Power 
resumes. Barbara Sirota Media. (212) 740-2272. 

VVV Productions: We care about your project, treat- 
ing it as if it were one of ours. To us professionalism 
does not mean lack of passion or commitment. Try our 
experienced crew & location pkg (Sony DXC 3000. VO 
6800. tripod, mikes, lights, etc.). Call us today. Because 
we care. (212)662-1342. 

Off-Line Video Editor/Production Coordinator 
available for wide range of projects — from documen- 
tary to industrial; narrative to experimental. Good rates. 
Please call Sally Kaplan (212) 226-4676. 

Video Production/Engineer for low cost industrial/ 
professional production. Call Allison (212) 519-6304. 

Cinematographer to work on student and independent 
short films. Vincent (718) 729-7481. 

Award-Winning Independents with 1/2" portable 
VTR. industrial camera. 1/2" editing, pro lighting, 
monitoring, audio. Low. low rates, package prices for 
fellow independents. Documentaries, music video, any 
project. 16mm film too. Compugenesis (718) 937- 
7061. 

Independent Filmmaker/Videographer/Soundman 
with equipment available for short or long-term pro- 
jects. Crew available. Camera, lights, and/or audio. 
PCM digital sound recording. Call Arthur Boudine. NY 
area (914) 693-8198. 

Producers: If you're interested in rap music/visual & 
graffiti art/homeless artists documentary, we are sched- 
uling new performance. One-minute demo tape avail, 
of past performance. LP just released. (212) 580-3595. 
Suzanne Bucklev. Timberwolfe Records. 



Postproduction 



Negative Matching: 16mm. super 16. 35mm. Credits 
include Jim Jarmusch. Wim Wenders. and Lizzie Bor- 
den. Reliable results at reasonable rates. One White 
Glove. Tim Brennan. 225 Lafayette St.. #914. NYC. 
NY 10012: (212)966-9484. 

Bob Brodsky& ToniTreadway: Super 8 & 8mm film- 
to-video mastering with scene-by-scene color correc- 
tion to 3/4", I" & Betacam. By appointment only. Call 
(617) 666-3372. 

3/4" & 3/4" SP Broadcast Quality Editing with A/B 
Roll, $95/hr including operator. Free special FX for 
AIVF members, incl. slo-mo. freezes, four-quad, 
graphics. Call HDTV Enterprises. Inc.. near Lincoln 
Center. (212)874-4524. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



3/4" Editing: Sony 5850 system with Chyron VP2 plus, 
TBC, scopes, SEG, digital effects & audio sweetening. 
Low prices, great editors. Also: highest quality video 
duplication to & from 3/4" to VHS. Call (212) 319- 
5970. 

16mm Editing Room: Fully equipped with 6-plate 
Steenbeck & 24-hr access. Secure, convenient Upper 
West Side location (across street from Lincoln Center). 
Reasonable rates. Call JeffWisotsky Productions (212) 

97 1 -5637. 

16mm Flatbeds for Rent: 6-plate flatbeds for rent in 
your workspace or fully equipped downtown editing 
room with 24-hour access. Cheapest rates in NYC for 
independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions 
(212) 873-4470. 

Editors: Downtown Transfer offers Digital Sampling. 
Create room tone or ambience tracks from existing 
tapes by sampling brief pauses between words or quiet 
instant before "Action." Manipulate sound effects by 
stretching, shrinking, looping, changing pitch, tempo. 
Full FX library. Downtown Transfer (212) 255-8698. 

3/4" Off-Line editing system for rent — includes Sony 
BVU 800 decks, Sony BVE 800 controller. Broadcast 
quality at industrial rates. Downtown. 24-hr access. 
Martin Smith Productions (212) 925-6541. 

Super VHS Pre* Postproduction Studio: Panasonic 
200 CLE camera, AG 7400 portable deck & AG 7500 
off-line editing system with character generator. Supe- 
rior quality (400+ lines of resolution) at an affordable 
price. Wolf Mountain Studios (212) 431-8748. 

The Editor's Notebook: IBM or Commodore pro- 
gram creates logs, edit lists in SMPTE or edge numbers. 
Calculates precise edge numbers for 16mm or 35mm 
neg conform to SMPTE allowing film edit from win- 
dow dubs or off-line video edit. Call Arthur Boudine 
(914) 693-8198. 



PUT YOUR MONEY 
WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS 



AIVF members and their families in New 
York and New Jersey are eligible to 
enroll in the Northeast Dental Plan. 

Coverage includes: 

• Up to 50% off the cost of all dental 
work without restrictions or limitations 

• Free examination and low cost x- rays 
and cleaning 

• Free consultation with a plan specialist 

• Large savings on all specialty work 
including periodontics, orthodontics, 
endodontics, oral surgery, implants, 
and cosmetic dentistry. 



Over 1 ,000 private offices throughout New 
York State and New Jersey participate. 




EDUCATIONAL VIDEO CENTER 

87 Lafayette Street • New York, NY 10013 • 212-219-8129 



BITING— $10/HR, $20/HR w/editor 

3 / 4 " SONY RM 440/5800-5850 

VHS JVC RM 86U/BR 8600U 

CHARACTER GENERATING— $25 /HR 

SONY M3A CAMERA PACKAGE -$330/DAY 
INDEPENDENTS WELCOMED 



MOBILE 

COURIERS & TRUCKS 




NEW YORK'S LEADING 
FILM INDUSTRY 
MESSENGER SERVICE 
est. 1970 



Speed is our specialty 
we deliver anything 
anywhere. . . 

751-7765 
247-7400 



ON A 
BUDGET? 



ODD IDOIIIID 

MOTION MEDIA 

DDII ID Dill ID 



Offers 

16 mm Mag Film Transfers 

1X4" or cassette, sync or wild 

$16.00 - hr 



Mag Film Stock 
$0.04 - ft 



Fast Service via UPS 

Write or Call: 

MOTION MEDIA CO. 

203 W. Holly, Suite M15 

Bellingham, WA 98225 

(206) 676-2528 



3/4" off line video editing facilities 

VALKHN VIDEO 

Award winning editing staff available 
Supervising editor Victor Kanef sky 

Sound effects library and sound transfers 
Lok-Box: film sound preparation for video sound mixing 
1600 Broadway, New York 

(212)586-1603 

Twenty years of film expertise brought to video editing 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed free of charge. 
AIVF members receive first priority; 
others are included as permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to 
edit for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., May 8 for the July issue. 
Send notices to: Independent No- 
tices, FIVF, 625 Broadway, New York, 
NY 10012. 



Conferences • Workshops 

3rd Annual Film & Video Summer Institute offered 
by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, July 25-Aug. 1 2. 
Weekly seminars incl. Intro to Asian Cinema. Doc & 
Intensive Prod. Workshops. Contact: Susan Horowitz, 
FAVSI. Univ. of Hawaii, Box 1 1450. Dept. FV, Hon- 
olulu. HI 96828-0450; (808) 948-7221. 

California Lawyers for the Arts: Copyright clinics 
to be held on the 2nd & 4th Sats each mo. during '88 
(except Feb. 13, May 28, Nov. 26 & Dec. 24). Drop-in 
consultations of approx. 20 min. from 10 a.m. -12:30 
p.m. at CLA Library, Bldg. C, Rm. 255 (2nd fl.). Fort 
Mason Center. San Francisco, CA, $10 for members; 
$20 nonmembers. CLA, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. C,' 
San Francisco. CA 94123; (415) 775-7200. 

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts holds monthly 
immigration seminars for artists & reps of arts organi- 
zations, conducted by experts on immigration law & 
geared to particular needs of artists, incl. visual & 
performing artists, writers, musicians/songwriters, etc. 
Issues incl. new federal amnesty act & obtaining work 
permits. Held on 2nd Thurs. each mo.. 7-9 p.m. Regis- 
tration $10 in advance. $15 at door. For info& seminar 
locations, contact: Barry H. Slinker, VLA, 1 285 Ave. of 
the Americas, 3rd fl.. New York, NY 10019; (212) 977- 
9270. 

1988 Nonprofit Leadership Seminar Series organ- 
ized by Volunteer Consulting Group to be held at 
various locations in NYC, May 3-20. Topics incl. 
Foundation Giving, Fundraising: The Role of the 
Board, Corporate Giving, Business Ventures for Non- 
profits, Marketing & Effective Public Relations & 
others. Contact: VCG, 24 W. 40th St., New York, NY 
10018; (212) 869-0800. 

NAMAC Conference: The 1988 Nat'l Alliance of 
Media Arts Centers' annual conference will be held in 
conjunction w/ 12th Atlanta Film & Video Fest, May 
18-21 at High Museum of Art. Atlanta, GA. Main 
theme: Media Arts Exhibition, w/ AFVF screenings 
held each evening. Topics incl. marketing/publicity/ 
audience development; info services; criticism/pro- 
gram notes/aesthetics of media arts; artists' concerns; 
exhibition technology/hardware; intermedia arts. Con- 
tact: NAMAC, c/o .IMAGE Film/Video Qr., 75 Ben- 
nett St.. NW. Ste. M- 1 . Atlanta, GA 30309; (404) 352- 
4225. 

ITS/N ATPE 1 st Intl Teleproduction Conference & 



Exhibition to be held June 25-28 at Los Angeles Con- 
vention/Exhibition Ctr. Contact: Susan Stanco, ITS 
Dir. of Conference Marketing, Int'l Teleproduction 
Society, 990 6th Ave.. Ste. 2 IE. New York, NY 10018; 
(212)629-3266. 

Flaherty Gala party and benefit screening on May 7, 
6-9 pm, at New School of Social Research's May 
Auditorium, 66 5th Ave, NYC. Seating limited. For 
reservations, send check w/ tax-deductible contribution 
of $25. $50 or $100 — $10 for students (contributions 
accepted at the door, but seating not guaranteed), pay- 
able to: Int'l Film Seminars. Mail to: Flaherty Gala, 
Deirdre Boyle, Chair. 88 Bleecker St., #2-S, New York, 
NY 10012: (212)475-1955. 

Independent Feature Project has organized the Sa- 
lon de Cinema Independant program at the Cannes Film 
Festival. This will provide information, hospitality, and 
meeting space at the Old Palais (aka Directors Fort- 
night) for all US filmmakers in attendance. Additional 
services incl. orientation, meetings w/ distributors, 
message center, "happy hours" & private office space. 
For further info, contact: Karen Arikian or Susan Slo- 
naker, IFP, (212) 496-0909. 

The American University's Film & Video Institute is 
offering its 7th annual summer series of professional 
courses, beginning May 31, June 6, 7 & 13: Film 
Production, Video Production, Interactive Video De- 
velopment, Theory & Practice of High Definition TV, 
Music Scoring & Audio for Video, and Operating a 
' Mobile Satellite Van. Courses are hands-on, small class 
size, w/ working professional instructors. Intensive 
eve. & weekend schedule. For registration, contact: 
Chris Kovach, (202) 885-2500; for content questions, 
call Greg Epler-Wood, (202) 885-2060: School of 
Communications, American University, Washington 
DC, 20016. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

Axlegrease: Weekly cable program for Buffalo public 
access television features the work of local film & 
media artists, produced by Squeaky Wheel. Submit 
work to Squeaky Wheel on 3/4", Beta, VHS. or 8mm 
videotape, 585 Potomac Ave.. Buffalo, NY 14222; 
(716)884-7172. 

Uptown, Paragon Cable Manhattan's movie channel, is 
sponsoring 3rd annual Short Film & Video Contest in 
conjunction w/ Coe Films & TVR/Mastercolor Trans- 
fer. Winner receives exclusive premiere on Uptown, 
optional distribution contract with Coe Films, and $500. 
Runner-ups receive technical services and cash prizes. 
Films must be no longer than 30 min. and produced w/ 
in past 18 mos. Submissions accepted on 3/4" and 1/2" 
VHS, w/ 100-word synopsis and entry form. Deadline: 
June 3. For entry form, send SASE to: Uptown's Short 
Film & Video Contest, Paragon Cable Manhattan, 5 1 20 
Broadway, New York. NY 10034. 

New Works Needed: New UHF station in Boston look- 
ing for work by ind. film/video artists. For considera- 
tion, send examples to Music/Media, Box 1341. Glouc- 
ester, MA 01930. 

NHK. Japan Public TV seeks current affairs, investi- 
gative & social docs for weekly 45 min. time slot 



running 4/88-4/89. Films can be nearly completed or 
finished, but must be produced within the last 2 years. 
Send descriptive/publicity materials to: Robert Odell, 
21 W. 87th St., New York, NY 10024. 

Short Film Submissions Wanted: MTV now devel- 
oping weekly comedy series incorporating funny, bi- 
zarre, or "strange" short films. Optimum length: 1 :30- 
3 min. Longer submissions screened w/ understanding 
that they may be edited to fit this segment length. Tapes 
can be submitted on 1/2" or 3/4", but must have 3/4" 
masters for air. Send submissions to: MTV Comedy 
Films, 1775 Broadway, 10th fl., New York, NY 10019. 

2nd New York City Lesbian & Gay Experimental 
Film Festival is seeking work in 16mm & Super 8 to be 
exhibited in Sept. 1988. Submissions between Apr. 1 & 
July 15. Send prints or video transfers to: Jim Hubbard. 
503 Broadway, Rm. 503, New York, NY 10012. Or call 
(212) 505-1758. Women & minorities especially en- 
couraged. 

ICONONEGRO: THE BLACK AESTHETIC IN VIDEO ART will 

be 1st int'l collection of video art by or w/ African 
diaspora artists exploring possibility of defining dis- 
tinctly Black aesthetic. Work of all genres considered, 
incl. narrative, performance, social commentary, por- 
traiture, conceptual, experimental, installation, educa- 
tional & commercial. Program to premiere Jan. 1989 in 
NYC. Submission deadline: August. Contact: Philip 
Mallory Jones, guest curator, ICONONEGRO. Schom- 
burg Ctr for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X 
Blvd., New York, NY 10037-1801; (212) 491-2255. 

Cincinnati Artists Group Effort is looking for video 
art work for series of 3 TV shows for broadcast distri- 
bution. Pieces should be about 5 min. or less & will be 
paid honoriaria of up to $200/min. for selected work. 
Deadline for entries: July 1. Send w/SAS return mailer 
to: CAGE, 344 W. 4th St.. Cincinnati, OH 45202. 

The Media Show. Channel 4 magazine-format pro- 
gram dealing with film, TV. press, advertising & print, 
seeks films/tapes. Send videos or proposals for work- 
in-progress to: Kate Newington, Wall to Wall Televi- 
sion Ltd.. 1 Richmond Mews, Off Nead St., London 
W1V5AG, England. 

Aylmer Press seeks 1/2" documentary and instruc- 
tional videos for distribution. Completed videos only, 
nonexclusive contract. Contact: Aylmer Press, 928 
Spring St., Madison, WI 53715. 



Opportunities • Gigs 

Cinema Studies/Film: Assistant Professor to teach 4-5 
courses per yr. in prod, systems & technologies & other 
areas of expertise: maintain, manage & supervise film 
& video equip, for School of Film; serve on grad 
committees: asst director in long-term facilities & 
equip, planning; provide tech. support for the film 
program. Starting date: Sept. 1. 1988. Closing date: 
May 1 or until position is filled. Send letter of app!.. 
resume & references to: David O. Thomas. Dir.. School 
of Film, Lindley Hall. Ohio Univ., Athens, OH 45701. 

Vidographers/Instructors/Editors: Summer posi- 
tions available w/Legacy Int'l Youth Program. Seeking 
highly motivated individuals for exceptional intercul- 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 

• Comprehensive health, disability, life, and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• Festival Bureau: your inside track to over 400 international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and public forums to increase support for independent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aesthetic issues 

• Discounts on professional services, including car rental, film labs, post-production facilities & equipment rental 
AND 

• A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film and Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine 
tailored to your needs (10 issues per year) 



Help Yourself. 



j 



oin AIVF Today and Get a One- Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

I | $35/year individual 
] (Add $10 for first class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT) 

I I $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID) 

I I $50/year library (subscription only) 

I I $75/year organization 

I I $45/year foreign (outside US, Canada & Mexico) 



Name 



Address_ 
City 



State 



^P. 



Country (if outside US) 
Telephone 



Please bill my: Visa Mastercard 

Acct. # 



Exp. Date 
Signature 



OR: Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 
9th floor, New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 



ci 



, 



■ 






' 



tural experience w/ youths from 30 countries, in Blue 
Ridge foothills, VA. Duties incl. program documenta- 
tion, video instruction & planning work for potential 
docs & curriculum series. Interviewing now. June 19- 
Aug. 19. Nonsmokers, EOE. Located 4 hrs. so. of 
Washington, D.C. Contact: Marlene Ginsberg, video 
coordinator. Legacy Int'l Youth Program, Rte. 4, Box 
265, Bedford, VA 24523; (703) 297-5982. 

Society for Photographic Education is soliciting 
proposals for panels & presentations for 1989 confer- 
ence "Media and Society," to be held in Rochester, NY, 
Mar. 16-19, 1989. Submissions should be 1 page or less 
& be sent before Aug. 1 to: SPE '89 Rochester Confer- 
ence, Box 564, Rochester, NY 14603. 

Media and Theater Arts teaching positions open: 1 ) 
Tenure-track associate or full professor. Writer/pro- 
ducer to teach & work w/ public TV. MFA or PhD, 
demonstrated evidence of excellence in teaching at 
university level, plus outstanding record of both publi- 
cations and production of works of fiction & nonfiction. 
2) Tenure-track assistant professor. Terminal degree 
required. Demonstrated ability to teach cinematogra- 
phy/videography, editing, and sound. On-going 
commitment to ind. production w/emph. on nonfiction 
preferred. Send appl., resume, supporting materials 
(incl. scripts, published works, tapes, films) and at least 
3 letters of recommendation to: Jack Hyyppa (position 
#1 ) or Bill Neff (#2), Dept. of Media & Theater Arts, 
Montana State Univ., Visual Communications Bldg, 
Bozman, MT 59717. EOE. Women, minorities, handi- 
capped/disabled persons, Vietnam veterans, and dis- 
abled veterans encourage to apply. 

Publications • Software 

The Art of Filing: Now available from Volunteer 
Lawyers for the Arts. Written by Carla Messman & 
published by United Arts of St. Paul, MN w/ legal 
editing provided in part by VLA. Price: $12.95, plus $3 
for shipping & handling & $ I for each additional book. 
Contact: Barry H. Slinker, VLA, 1285 Ave. of the 
Americas, 3rd fl„ New York, NY 10019; (212) 977- 
9270. 

1988 Massachusetts Production Guide to motion 
pic & TV prod, in MA now available. Contact: MA 
Office for Film & Video Development, 100 Cambridge 
St., 13th tl, Boston, MA 02202; (617) 727-3330. 

BehindtheLens: The newsletter of the Assn. of Profes- 
sional Camerawomen available. Write: Box 1039, 
Santa Monica, CA 90406. 

Moving Image Review, new publication of the North- 
east Historic Film organization. Contact: Northeast 
Historic Film. Blue Hill Falls, ME, 04615; (207) 374- 
2736. 

Cineaste Book Contest: Seeks writing on film for a 
new series of Cineaste books to be published in coop- 
eration w/ Lake View Press. Celebrates Cineaste' s 20th 
anniv. Open to Cineaste subscribers. Manuscripts may 
be on any aspect of film & may be an original work, an- 
thology, or translation. Prefer writing on subjects of 
social or political relevance, written in popular, nonac- 
ademic style. For copy of writer's guidelines, send 
SASE to 200 Park Ave. S., New York, NY 10003. 

Ml m. RACES POWER: SOUTH AFRICANS IMAGED ON FILM & 
TV presents an inside view of apartheid by Keyan 
Tomaselli. Alan Williams, Lynette Steenveld & Ruth 
Tomaselli. Book outlines some theoretical & practical 



The Suffolk County 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 

presents 



SUFFOLK 

COUNTY 

FILM & VIDEO 

COMPETITION 

Call for Entries 

for 

1988 



Entry Forms: 

SUFFOLK COUNTY 

MOTION PICTURE/TV 

COMMISSION 

Office of Economic Development 

Dennison Building 

Veterans Memorial Highway 

Hauppauge, New York 11788 

516-360-4800 



1-inch & 

Interformat Editing 
3/4" BVU Editing 
3/4" Off-Line Editing 
Complete Audio Services 
Film to Tape Transfers 
Video Production & 
Screening Equipment 
Rental 



LOW COS 



v ,.to*^ lCtS 



FORTH* 



MEDIA ARTS 



Broadway Video 

G.B.S. Video 

L.RP. Video 

Matrix/Stand-By 

Sync Sound 

TV-R/MasterColor 

Technisphere CorporaUon 

Post-production consultation 

Available to ON-LINE clients 

For applications contact 

Media Alliance 

c/o WNET, 356West 58th Street 

NYC. NY 10019 212/560-2919 



SYIMESTHETICS 

Integrated Media Productions 

—VIDEO— 

► Complete post-production 
management 

► Off-line interformat editing 

► EDL generation 

► Striping/burn-in 

—GRAPHICS— 

» Logo creation 

» Full color paint system 

► Image digitization/effects 

► Slide/prints from video 

► Full 3D modeling w/texture 
mapping 

—AUDIO— 

» Midi music synthesis 

» Music scored for video/film 

► Narration recording 

» Sound effects, overdubs, lay-backs 

58 Walker St. • NYC 10013 
212-431-4112 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 



strategies authors have developed in conjunction w/ 
local Black & nonracial orgs in their struggle against 
apartheid. Part of the Critical Studies in African An- 
thropology series available from Smyrna Press for $10. 
Coming up: The Cinema of Apartheid: Raee & Class in 
South African Films, by Keyan Tomaselli. Contact: 
Smyrna Press. Box 1X03. GPO. Brooklyn. NY 1 1202. 

America's Nkwest Foundations: Sourcebook on Re- 
cently Created Philanthropies now available from Taft 
Group. SX9.9S. Contact: Taft Group. 5130 MacArthur 
Blvd.. NW. Washington. DC 20016: (202) 966-7086. 

Usinc; Media to Make Kids Ff.f.l Good: Resources & 
Activities for Successful Programs in Hospitals, by 
Maureen Gaffney. published by Media Center for 
Children in conjunction w/ Child Life Center staff & 
other hospitals. $35 in N. Amer. Contact: Oryx Press. 
2214 N. Central. Ste. 103. Phoenix. AZ 85004: (612) 
254-6156. 

Resources • Funds 

Writers Guild of America. East, in conjunction with 
New York State Council on the Arts, will award 4 
$5,000 grants for writing and preparing video docs. 
Applicants must have established interest in independ- 
ently produced video documentaries and projects 
funded must be produced on videotape. Appl. incl. 
proposal, budget & credit list w/ emphasis on writer or 
writer/prod, credits. Appl. deadline: July I. Request 
appl. from: WGAe Foundation. 555 W. 57th St.. New 
York. NY 10019. 



Grant organizational deadline: May 5 for "notice of 
intent to apply." June 2 for submitting complete appl. 
Contact: Advancement Program. Rm. 617. NEA, 
Nancy Hanks Ctr., 1100 Pennsylvania Ave.. NW, 
Washington. DC 20506. 

Advanced Research Fellowships in India: Offered 
by the Indo-US Subcommission on Education & Cul- 
ture. Grants available to all academic disciplines except 
clinical medicine. Appl. deadline: June 15. Contact: 
Council for Int'l Exchange of Scholars, attn: Indo- 
American Fellowship Program. 1 1 Dupont Circle. NW, 
Ste. 300. Washington. DC 20036-1257; (202) 939- 
5469. 

Alaska State Council on the Arts: Project Grants 
appl. deadline: May I. Contact: Alaska State Council 
on the Arts. 6 1 9 Warehouse Ave.. Ste. 220, Anchorage, 
Alaska. 99501-1682: (907) 279-1558. 

Women in Film: 4th annual Film Finishing Fund round 
provides small completion grants to video/filmmakers 
w/ demonstrated advanced & innovative skills consis- 
tent w/ goals of WIF. For guidelines & appls. send 
SASE to: Film Finishing Fund. Women in Film. 6464 
Sunset Blvd.. Ste. 660. Los Angeles, CA 90028. 

Hallwalls/Contemporary Arts Center announces 
new deadline for regional Film Regrant Program: now 
postponed to May 2. Eligibility open to filmmakers in 
the western NY counties of Alleghany, Cattaragus. 
Chautauqua. Erie. Genesee. Niagara. Orleans & Wyo- 
ming. Contact: local arts council or Steve Gallagher. 
Film Program Dir.. Hallwalls. 700 Main St.. Buffalo. 
NY 14202; (716)854-5828. 



National Endowment eor the Arts: Advancement The Media Bureau provides $500 grants to New York 



state artists for postproduction of video & radio proj- 
ects. Submit appl., budget form & rough-cut of project 
on 3/4" videotape or audio cassette (for radio projects). 
Deadline: May 1. Also has funds available for presen- 
tation of video & audiotapes in New York State, incl. 
screenings, installations & performances of multi- 
media works incorporating substantial amounts of 
video or radio, workshops, short residencies, tech. asst 
& equip, access relating directly to these projects. 
Appls reviewed continuously. Contact: Media Bureau. 
The Kitchen. 512 W. 19th St.. New York. NY 1001 1: 
(212) 255-5793. 

The Film Bureau of Film/Video Arts offers grants to 
NY State exhibition programs sponsored by nonprofit 
organizations. Matching funds of up to S300 available 
for film rentals & up to $200 per speaking engagement 
for presentations by filmmakers, producers, directors, 
technicians & scholars. Deadlines: June 15, Aug. 15 & 
Jan. 15. Contact: Charles Vassallo. Film Bureau Coor- 
dinator, F/VA. 817 Broadway. New York. NY 10003- 
4797: (212)673-9361. 

Midwest Regional Fellowship Production Grants 
in film & video offered to independent artists in IL, IN. 
MI & OH through the Chicago Ctr for New TV. Appl. 
deadline: May 25. Contact: Ctr. for New TV, 912 S. 
Wabash, Chicago. IL 60605: (312) 427-5446. 

Intermedia Arts Minnesota: Grants to Interdiscipli- 
nary Artists program funded by NEA & Rockefeller 
Fnd. awards $2500 to $7000 for works involving 2 or 
more art forms, to artists from MN, IA. ND. SD & WI. 
Deadline: May 6. Contact: Al Kosters. Intermedia Arts. 
425 Ontario St.. SE, Minneapolis. MN 55414: (612) 
627-4444. 



Video Duplication 

3/4" U-matic & 1/2" VHS or Beta II Copies 

FROM ONE 20 MINUTES 30 MINUTES 60 MINUTES 1/2" VHS/BETA II 
MASTER 3/4" 1/2" 3/4" 1/2" 3/4" 1/2" 90 MIN. 120 MIN. 



One Copy $4. 00 $4.00 $6.00 $5.00 $9.00 $8.00 S11.00 $14.00 

2-4 Copies 3.50 3.00 5.50 4.50 8.00, 6.00 8.00 9.00 

5-9 Copies 3.00 2.50 4.50 3.50 7.00 5.00 7.00 8.00 

10-24 Copies 2.50 2.00 4.00 3.00 6.00 4.50 6.00 7.00 

PRICES. NOT INCLUDING STOCK, ARE PER COPY. ASSEMBLY CHARGES ARE ADDITIONAL. 



EQUIPMENT: 3/4" Sony, 1/2" Panasonic 2 ch. industrial recorders and Grass 
Valley & Videotek distributors. Time base correction, optional, with Microtime 
and Tektronix equipment. 

3/4" EDITING - PER HOUR, DAY or WEEK 

RM 440/5800-5859 " $20/HR. 
/5800-2860A - $15/HR. 
24 Hour Access Available 



(212)475-7884 

814 BROADWAY 
NEW YORK, NY 10003 



3 /4" VIDEO & POST PRODUCTION 


© 


m 


- — ■<— ^ — »- 


iai 


SI 


nil 


mU 


i ji 


V 


I D 


E 


.11 



Newfullv 
fcyin computerized Edit 
*' +,J ' System -Eagle 2 w/DOS 

(CMX compatible disk). 
w/Editor, Timecode. TBC, Freezes, 
Switcher, Hi-res. Character Gen. 
(70 Fonts), Fairlight Dig. Effects. 



$60. A/B Roll w/all the above 



$20. 



Do-it-yourself with 
RM440 (or ECS90 w/TC 
3/4 to 3/4 &VHS-3/4) 

$30. with Editor-Cuts only 



Striping-Window Dubs-Copies 
3/4 Location Package with 
Ikegami 730, Lights, Mies, Crew 



TEL: (212) 219-9240 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1988 



Midati. antic Arts Foundation: Visual Arts Resi- 
dency Program appl. deadline: July 15. Contact: Mid- 
Atlantic Arts Foundation. II E. Chase St.. Ste. I A, 
Baltimore. MD 21202; (301 ) 539-6656. 

Nt:w York Council on the Humanities: Proposals for 
project support deadline: June I. Contact: NYCH, 198 
Broadway, 10th fl.. New York, NY 10038; (212) 233- 
1131. 

South Carolina Arts Commission Grant deadlines: 
May 15 & Aug. 15 for individuals & orgs. Contact: SC 
Arts Comm.. 1800 Gervais St.. Columbia, SC 29201; 
(803) 734-8696. 

FAF Grants for funding new work by Bay Area film/ 
videomakers in 3 cats: short, personal works ($3000 per 
grant), project development ($1000 per grant) & com- 
pletion/distribution ($2500 per grant). Appl. deadline: 
May 23. For guidelines & forms, call: (415) 552-8760. 



Trims & Glitches 

Just Keep Going by Ellen A. Meyers won Bronze Seal 
at the 1988 Institute of Amateur Cinematographers Int'l 
Film & Video Competition in the UK. Congrats! 

Kudos to AIVF members who received Jerome Foun- 
dation NYC Film & Video Grants — Sharon Greytak & 
Mark Daniels. 

Congratulations to audio & video artists who re- 
ceived production awards from the Media Program of 
the New York State Council on the Arts: Charles Atlas, 
for S & D; Maxi Cohen, for a video essay on Jones 
Beach; Collis Davis. Elegha's Stratagem; Vanalyn 
Green, Baseball & the Body. Kathy High, Women & 
Medicine; Sara Hornbacher. for an art documentary; 
Phil Niblock, for five shorts in collaboration w/ per- 
formance artists; Karen Ranucci, for doc on TV in Latin 



America; Daniel Reeves. Try in Live in See This; Edin 
Velez, for video art installation on Japanese culture; 
Paper Tiger TV, for weekly cable series & Deep Dish 
TV, for nationwide satellite network. 

Kudos to Nancy Cohen & Documentary Educational 
Resources, recently awarded a Massachusetts Produc- 
tion Grant from the Massachusetts Council on Arts & 
Humanities to complete doc on fishing industry of 
Gloucester. 

Mori; Kudos to Nina Rosenblum & Daedalus Produc- 
tions, who received support from the Kentucky Foun- 
dation for Women & the Woodie Guthrie Foundation 
for one hour-long doc on women incarcerated at Female 
High Security Unit in Lexington, Kentucky. 

We Forgot to congratulate AIVF member Lynne 
Mueller, producer of Silver into Gold, for her Academy 
Award nomination for documentary shorts. 



■ 



MEMORANDA 



ALAN MITOSKY 
REMEMBERED 

I read in The Independent about Alan Mitosky's 
death. When I was director of AIVF, back in the 
late seventies, I had a chance to work with Alan, 
up on a second floor loft on 99 Prince Street. I was 
awed by his ability to persuade exhibitors to 
showcase independent short films. The exhibitors 
made no money on the shorts, and it ate into their 
profits by reducing the number of times they could 
turn around their feature in a day. But Alan cajoled 
and twisted them — "Morty. Listen to me. Morty, 
don't you understand? It's a preste-e-ege prod- 
uct!" — and they fell into line, one after the other, 
and the Short Film Showcase was born. 

I lost touch with Alan for many years. Late last 
year, walking up Columbus Avenue, I saw him on 
the street. He was clearly very sick. "It's the big C, 
Tom," he said, and smiled, and put his arm around 
me. I tried to call him, shortly thereafter, and got 
no answer, and being busy, I did what New York- 
ers do too often. I let it go. Reading your an- 
nouncement, I thought of how he put his arm 
around me and how he knew, though I didn't, that 
he was saying goodbye. He was a tactile man. A 
decade earlier, I remember him, after a long day's 
work, putting his arm around me and Robin 
Weber, and our standing together, arms linked, in 
that unpainted loft, in the improbable early days of 
the AIVF. A gentle man, Alan, in life as in death. 

— Thomas Lennon 
New York, NY 



AIVF THANKS. 



...All our members who have sent donations to 
the AIVF Emergency Tax Equity Fund: 

Robert Aaronson. Richard Armstrong. David Blair. 



Rose Bond. Pat Cooper. Thomas Drescher, Ralph 
Gerstle, Susan Goldbetter, Carol Hardin, Sharon 
Harkey. Richard Howorth. Imani Film and Video Pro- 
ductions, Jill Janows, Bill Jersey, Sally Kaplan. Theo- 
dore Life, Little Bear Films, Robert Lyons, George 
McQuilkin, J. Philip Miller. Sarah Pirozek, Oreet Rees. 
John Rosenmiller, Barry Russo. Lawrence Sapadin, 
Robin Schanzenbach, Joseph Sopiak. Pamela Strayer, 
Dyanna Taylor. Peter Weller, and Jonathan Wiede- 
mann. 

This fund was established to help AIVF under- 
write efforts to obtain exemptions from rules 
contained in the 1986 Tax Reform Act that place 
extraordinary tax reporting burdens on freelance 
artists. For a thorough description of these devel- 
opments and their effect on independent film- and 
videomakers, see "Breaking the Code: The Im- 
pact of the New Tax Law" and "Artists Act to 
Reform Tax Reform Act" in the March issue of 
The Independent. Contributions made out to 
AIVF Emergency Tax Equity Fund can be sent to: 
AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor. New York, NY 
10012. 



FIVF THANKS 

The Foundation for Independent Video and Film 
(FIVF), the foundation affiliate of the Association 
of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF). 
supports a variety of programs and services for the 
independent producer community, including 
publication of The Independent, maintenance of 
the Festival Bureau, seminars and workshops, an 
information clearinghouse, and a grant making 
program. None of this work would be possible 
without the generous support of the following 
agencies, foundations and organizations: The 
New York State Council on the Arts, the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the 
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, 



the Governor's Office of Motion Picture and Tele- 
vision Development, the Morgan Guaranty Trust 
Company of New York, the Consolidated Edison 
Company of New York, the Benton Foundation, 
the Funding Exchange, and the dozens of organi- 
zations that advertise in The Independent. 



WANTED 



BOOKSTORE 

OUTLETS FOR 

THE INDEPENDENT 



While The Independent is distrib- 
uted to bookstores and newsstands 
across the country, there are still 
many places where the magazine is 
hard to find. We would like to rem- 
edy this situation— but we need 
your help. If you are aware of a 
bookstore in your area that carries 
film, video, or television maga- 
zines, but doesn't stock The Inde- 
pendent, please let us know. Send 
the bookstore name, address, 
phone, and if possible, the mana- 
ger's name to: 

The Independent 
625 Broadway. 9th fl. 
New York, NY 10012 

attn: Pat Thomson 

or call 212/473-3400 



MAY 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 39 



FIVF DONOR-ADVISED FILM AND VIDEO FUND 

The Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF) is soliciting applications 

for grants toward production and distribution of film and video works through 

its Donor- Advised Film and Video Fund. This Fund was established to work with 

foundations and individual donors to facilitate their support of independently 

produced social issue media by providing a peer review panel process that 

screens works and recommends finalists for funding consideration. 

For 1988, FIVF's Donor-Advised Film and Video Fund is assisting three funders — 
the Benton Foundation, the Beldon Fund, and the Edelman Family. 

The Benton Foundation will make three grant awards totalling $25,000: the 
Marjorie Benton Peace Film Award of $5,000 for a completed film or video that 
best promotes public understanding of peace issues, a $10,000 post-production 

grant for a work in progress whose principal photography is substantially 

completed and that similarly advances the interests of international peace, and a 

new S 10,000 post-production grant for a work in progress that explores the role 

of communications and information in society. 

The Beldon Fund will make grants totalling $20,000 for production, editing, 
completion, or distribution of works dealing with environmental issues. 

The Edelman Family will make grants totalling $12,000 for projects that discuss, 

explore, or document social change. Preference will be given to requests for 

development funds for projects addressing contemporary issues. 

The Donor-Advised Film and Video Fund is interested in works that reach a 

broad audience and combine intellectual clarity and journalistic quality with 

creative and imaginative film- and videomaking. Priority will be given to works 

on issues that have received minimal coverage and works that have the potential 

for wide exposure in distribution. 

To receive guidelines and an application for consideration under this grant 
program, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: FIVF, 625 Broadway, 

9th floor, New York, NY 10012. 

Applicants must be affiliated with a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. 
(Excluded from consideration are: institutional projects for internal or promo- 
tional use; productions of public television stations; student productions.) 

Deadline for receipt of applications is July 1, 1988. 

Grant decisions will be made on or before November 21, 1988. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT MAY 1988 



SYNC 1/4 INCH AUDIO-TO-VIDEO 



PROD. NO. 



SCENE 



TAKE ROLL 



PROD. CO. 



DIRECTOR 



CAMERAMAN 



\SOUND 



For more information, call: 
Sound Dept. Manager Allan Gus, 
Video Dept. Manager Tim Spitzer or 
Sales Reps. Linda Young or Libby Moyer 



DuArt Film 



DuArt Video 




Negative-To-Video Transfers 
of Dailies with Sound 

■ Eliminate Cost of Workprint and Mag 

■ Optimize Audio Quality 

■ Create CMX-Compatible Audio Edit List 

The W original can be mono with Neopilot sync 
or stereo with FM-pilot or SMPTE Time Code 




Send for our 
new brochure 

114 INCN AUBI0T9 VIDEO SYNCING 



Du Art Film Labs 245 West 55th Street New York, NY 10019 (212)757-4580 Telex: 640 253 FAX: (212)333-7647 
Du Art New England 39 Chapel Street Newton, MA 02158 (617)969-0666 



^ 

FREE FOR 
THE ASKING 

□ Yes! 

Send me your new Spring Catalog 
Supplement filled with exciting new 
Audio & Video Tape. Equipment, 
Accessories & Supplies at the 
lowest prices ever. 



NAME: 






TITLF- 


COMPANY- 




STREET: 


CITY: 




STATE: 


7IP: 


PHONE:. 





MAIL TO 



1 *. 

if A. J t rt» 



Mm 



Hudson Audio Video Enterprises Ind 
309 Power Ave. Hudson, NY 12534 

OR CALL 

518-828-2000 



WAKE UP YOUR AUDIENCE! 



THE LIBRARY OF SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS 

ON TAPE READY TO USE 

500 EFFECTS $500 



DARINO FILMS (212) 228-4024 



TITLES 
ANIMATION 
SPECIAL EFFECTS 



FILM 

VIDEO 

COMPUTER 



DARINO 
FILMS 



(212)228-4024 




:usi 


Hi 


>FF-I 


LIN 



%-INCH TIME-CODE EDITING 



212 749 1286 



Fully equipped 16 mm editing facilities 



Safe, convenient location 



24 hour access 



Short & long term rentals 



New York's Only Up-the-Block, 
Round-the Clock Editing Facilities 



21 WEST 86th STREET, NYC 212-580-2075 









■ Low 




E«9 


budget 
features 




W~M 


■ Shorts 

■ Documentaries 






35mm, 

16mm/Super 16, 
lighting 
and 
sound 
packages 




J-~rl 


competitive 
rates 






212/925-9723 





- 


FIVF 

625 Broadway, 9th floor 

New York, NY 10012 


NON-PROFIT ORG 
U.S. POSTAGE 

PAID 

New York, N.Y, 
Permit No.7089 





JUNE 1988 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY $2. 50 




^ Public Television: 
Independents' Challenge 




^TECHNICOLOR 

NEW YORK 

COMMITTED TO THE 

TALENT AND VISION 

THAT 

15 

INDEPENDENT FILM AAAKING 



® 



OFFERING A LEVEL OF 
EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE AND RELIABILITY 

UNMATCHED 
ON THE EAST COAST 

16 MM AND 05 MM 
DAILIES TO RELEASE PRINTS 

AND 

ALL SOUND AND VIDEO NEEDS 



321 WEST 44TH STREET 

NEW YORK, NY. 10036 212-582-7310 



CONTENTS 



14 THE COALITION 

Introduction 

by Lawrence Sapdin 

The National Independent Programming Service: A Proposal 

Minority Programming Services 

Independent Producers and Publlic Television: An Overview, 1978-1987 

17 THE PRESS 

Introduction 

by Martha Gever 

What Makes Public TV Public? It Gets Harder and Harder To Tell 

by Pat Aufderheide 

CBS Sunday Morning Report 

by Ron Powers 

24 THE HEARINGS 

Introduction 

by Andrew Blau 

The House 

Representative Edward J. Markey 
Pamela Yates 
Lawrence Daressa 

The Senate 

Frederick Wiseman 
Marlon T. Riggs 
Lawrence M. Sapadin 

4 LETTERS 

8 MEDIA CLIPS 

Post Prompts NYSCA Inquest 

by Martha Gever 

Cable Feels the Heat 

by Patricia Thomson 

Worldwide Women's Film Group Formed 

by Renee Tajima 

New Orleans' New Culture Channel 
Congress Scraps CPB Budget Freeze 

42 FESTIVALS 

Odyssean Adventures: The 1988 Leicester and Brussels International 
Super 8 Film and Video Festivals 

by Toni Treadway 

Kino by Kids 

by Karen Rosenberg 

In Briet 

49 CLASSIFIEDS 

51 NOTICES 

52 MEMORANDA 

Minutes of the AIVF/FIVF Board and Membership Meetings 

COVER: Based on a resolution chart for TV camera set-up available from Hale 
Color Consultants, Inc., 1505 Phoenix Rd., Phoenix, MD 21131. 




JUNE 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



WRAPAROUND 



Almost since the first days of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, this 
organization has been involved in the struggle to gain greater access to public television 
for independent film and videomakers in this country. Too often, this issue has been seen 
as limited to the interests of public affairs documentary producers or, possibly, the people 
engaged in making the kind of programs seen on American Playhouse, WonderWorks, or 
Alive from Off-Center. While preserving and improving public television's reception of 
this kind of work remains important, this by no means defines the horizon of independent 
production that could be made and broadcast for national audiences. 

In the 14 years of AIVF's existence, public television has both expanded exponentially 
and suffered setbacks — in funding during the early years of the Reagan administration 
and in its ability to realize a true alternative to commercial television. Now, in 1988, as 
AIVF — working as part of the National Association of Independent Public Broadcasting 
Producers — nears the conclusion of yet another round of efforts to convince Congress 
and the public broadcasting community of the integral role independents could play in a 
truly public TV system, we have decided to devote an entire issue of The Independent to 
this topic. 

In the following pages you will find the documents that comprise a record of the work 
accomplished by the Coalition in the past year. We begin with the proposals for a Na- 
tional Independent Program Service (NIPS) and Minority Programming Services, written 
collaboratively by groups of independent producers across the country, originating with 
the Association of California Independent Public Television Producers and reworked 
with contributions from committees, principally in Boston and New York City. These key 
statements are followed by a short history of the relationship between public television 
and independents since passage of the 1978 federal legislation that recognized the im- 
portance of independent work to diverse and innovative television programming on 
public TV. Although this was also produced collaboratively, Robert Spencer, an inde- 
pendent documentary producer in New York City, deserves credit for assembling and 
organizing the historical data. 

The special section concludes with statements by various independent producers as 
well as the two Coalition co-chairs — AIVF executive director Lawrence Sapadin and 
Lawrence Daressa, who is also the founder and president of California Newsreel — 
delivered before Congress in March of this year. Sandwiched between these sets of 
documents is a sample of some of the assessments of public television published in the 
national press during the months that Coalition was mapping a strategy and building a 
larger coalition of supporters for reforms in public TV. Necessarily, at times the docu- 
ments produced for one purpose within the overall organizing and advocacy campaign 
are redundant with others, but rather than revising them retrospectively, we ask readers to 
accept this limitation. 

Invisible in this account are many of the individuals and groups who have been central 
in the past year's advocacy work — independent producers and media activists whose 
work and commitment form the bedrock of all that you will read here. In our August/ 
September issue we will correct this absence by supplementing this material with reports 
from around the country written by a number of these people. 

This issue was prepared during April and early May, before the conclusion of the 
Coalition's recent discussions with public television representatives and Congresspeople 
following the reauthorization hearings. Therefore, it is premature to report on the 
outcome of these talks or the final version of the 1988 public broadcasting legislation, 
which will not be known until June at the earliest. Our August/September issue will also 
contain that information as well as background on other aspects of the Coalition's 
campaign to achieve a national public television program service dedicated to indepen- 
dent video and film. 

Martha Gever 
Editor 



INXPENDEW 



JUNE 1988 

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 5 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Managing Editor: 

Associate Editor: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 

Art Director: 

Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Lucinda Furlong 
Karen Rosenberg 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Emily Fisher 
Ruth Copeland 
Christopher Holme 
Chase Morrison 
(212) 473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113E. Center St. 
Nutley. NJ 07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473- 
3400), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation dedicated to the 
promotion of video and film, and by the 
Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade 
association of independent producers and 
individuals involved in independent video 
and film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independents 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is 
assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addressed to the editor. Letters may be 
edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for Independent Video and Film. 
Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints reauire written permission and 
acknowledgement of the articles previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198. The Independent is indexed in 
the Alternative Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc. 1988 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin. 
executive director; Ethan Young, membership/ 
programming airector; Kathryn Bowser, festival 
bureau airector; Morton Marks, business manager; 
Sol Horowitz. Short Film Showcase project adminis- 
trator; Emily Fisher, administrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Rachel Field 
(chair), Robert Richter (president). Loni Ding (vice 
president). Wendy Lidell (secretary). Richard 
Lorber (treasurer), Robert Aaronson, Adrianne 
Benton. Christine Choy. Lisa Frigand." Regge Life, 
Tom Luddy." Deanna Morse, Lawrence Sapaain 
(ex officio), Steve Savage,* Barton Weiss. John 
Taylor Williams." 

* FIVF Board of Directors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1988 



Introducing 

CineScan™ 

The Yellow Pages of Film & Videotape 



Now, for the first time ever, you can locate the footage you need within seconds! 

Let our computer do your walking. Newsreel Access Systems has computerized and consolidated the 
catalogs of the world's most important film and videotape archives into a valuable information resource 
called CineScan. 

CineScan is the only computer database of its kind, containing hundreds of thousands of citations and 
detailed descriptions of footage from archives all over the world. The available material spans every- 
thing from Thomas Edison's early experiments in film in 1894 to the major news events of 1987. 
CineScan is continuously being updated and expanded and is available for searching in your office on 
a yearly subscription basis or on a per-search basis through our toll-free telephone service. 



SOURCE 
DATE 
VOLUME 
ISSUE 



Paper Print Collection 
1906-05-19 



SCENES IN SAN FRANCISCO 

AM&B (c) H77926 

Cameraman: Otis M. Gove 

Location: San Francisco Photographed: May 9. 1906 

115 ft. FLA5195 (print) FRA2153 (neg.) 

The cameraman placed his camera in various spots throughout the 
devastated area to record the damage caused by the earthquake. 
The camera pans from 40 to 180 degrees. In both the foreground and 
background, remains of buildings can be seen. The film also shows 
people going about their business of restoring the city, tearing down 
walls, and scraping up debris. Also shown are living facilities, 
army outdoor camp stoves, tents, and a line of persons getting their 
soup from a soup kitchen. 



SOURCE 


Hearst News of the Day 


DATE 


1963-12-01 


VOLUME 


35 


ISSUE 


231 



WORLD HONORS FALLEN PRESIDENT 

The Peace of Eternity Comes to John F. Kennedy 

The 35th President, whose quest for enduring peace in a dangerous 
world was cut short by an assassin's bullet, is laid to rest in 
Arlington National Cemetery. It is a day for humble people as well 
as the mighty. In vast throngs they had streamed unceasingly past 
Mr. Kennedy's bier in the rotunda of the Capitol for 18 hours. 
They had seen the funeral cortege move to St. Matthews Cathedral 
for a requiem mass. And the final tribute, when the martyred 
President reaches the end of his earthly journey. . .and a hero's 
grave receives his mortal remains. 



Some of the film & videotape collections already computerized and available through CineScan are: 



• American Pathe News 

• British Pathe Gazette 

• Hearst Metrotone News 

• Universal News 

• Paramount News 



• Library of Congress — Paper Prints 

• Worldwide Television News 

• NASA Film & Video Catalog 

• Archive Film Productions 

• USFL Films 



The beauty of CineScan is that the film and videotape catalog information you need is accessible within 
seconds. The past is literally at your fingertips or a phone call away! 

The Yellow Pages of Film & Videotape 
1-800-242-CINE 

Newsreel Access Systems, Inc. 150 East 58th Street, 35th Floor New York, New York 10155 



3 / 4 " VIDEO & POST PRODUCTION 



■>#& 


*i 


ft 


mU 


IJI 


V 1 D 


E 


ol 



Newfullv 
QAf) computerized Edit 
v ^ w " System-Eagle 2 w/DOS 

(CMX compatible disk). 
w/Editor, Timecode, TBC, Freezes, 
Switcher, Hi-res. Character Gen. 
(70 Fonts), Fairlight Dig. Effects. 



$60. 



A/B Roll w/all the above 



$ 20 Do-it-yourself with 
v v ' RM440 (or ECS90 wATC 
3/4 to 3/4 &VHS-3/4) 

$30. with Editor-Cuts only 



Striping-Window Dubs-Copies 
3/4 Location Package with 
Ikegami 730, Lights, Mies, Crew 



TEL: (212) 219-9240 



1 LETTERS 



$ 



1022 

($15 outside the USA) 

That's all it costs to join 

DANCE FILMS 

ASSOCIATION, INC. 

For less than the price of an average 
dinner you can get: 

Discounts on— 

■ 16mm motion picture projection 

■ Viewing all U.S. and European standard 
videotapes 

■ Copying from % inch to other formats 
or between BETA and VHS 

■ Limited conversion (camera from 
monitor), from European to U.S. 
standards 

■ Application fees for our annual 
competitive film and videotape festival 

■ Catalog and future supplement 
purchases 

Join now by contacting: 

DanceFilms 

Association, inc. 

241 East 34th Street 
New York. NY 10016 
Phone (212) 686-7019 



SAMB REMEMBERED 

To the editor: 

This letter is to inform your readers that Senegalese 
filmmaker Ababacar Samb Makharam, a pioneering 
figure in African cinema, recently passed away. Samb 
was the first secretary-general of the Pan African Fed- 
eration of Filmmakers, an organization that grew from 
three to 33 member countries during the five years of his 
leadership. As a film director, he was acknowledged as 
a profoundly original writer whose mission was to 
arrive at a unique synthesis of traditional African cul- 
tures and the "modern" world, rejecting both the "noble 
savage" mystique and the temptation to imitate the 
work of Western filmmakers. His feature films Kodou 
and particularly Jam (a Wolof word meaning "honor" 
and "dignity") attest to this effort. A dedicated states- 
man and a generous, loyal friend, Ababacar Samb left 
us before he could realize his dream of a unified African 
cinema. His death is a great loss to us all. 

— Carol Munday Lawrence 
Palo Alto. CA 



ARCHIVAL ADDENDA 

To the editor: 

I thought Pat Thomson's article "Sleuth: The Search for 
Television News Footage" [March 1988] was clearly 
written and extremely useful. Finding and negotiating 
rights for archival footage can be a tricky business; your 
article was a real service to the community of indepen- 
dent producers. 

However, I would like to add some crucial details to 
make sure that credit goes where credit is due. I was. 
indeed, the senior researcher for Eyes on the Prize. As 
your article claimed. I did hunt for (and find) film in 
many out-of-the-way sources — in southern TV sta- 
tions, university collections, museums, and private 
attics and basements. But many other people were 
involved with the film research for the series. As I 
explained to Thomson over the phone. I personally did 
none of the research at the well-known New York and 
D.C film archives. That research was very ably carried 
out by Sue Williams. Lewanne Jones. David Thaxton. 
Kevin Green. Jim DeVinney. Kay Matschullat, and 
Mary Lance. They turned up remarkable footage at "the 
majors" — and in many cases, they uncovered film the 
archives themselves were unaware of. Their work was 
critical to the success of the series. 

Although your article focused on film research in 
out-of-the-way archives. I feel these film researchers 
should be mentioned and given their share of the credit 
for the research that went into Eyes on the Prize. 

— Laurie Kahn-Leavitt, 
Boston, MA 



To the editor: 

I have just read Pat Thomson's "Sleuth: The Search for 
Television News Footage." It correctly states the 
Worldwide Television News (formerly UPITN) holds 
domestic footage from the sixties and seventies, but 
indicates that our foreign coverage is only from the 



seventies on. In fact. UPITN foreign coverage began, as 
did our domestic, in October 1963, when UPI began its 
own TV service, succeeding the UPI-Moveitone clip 
service of the 1950s. For foreign and domestic cover- 
age, the WTN (UPITN) and Movietonews libraries are 
complementary through the mid-late seventies, with 
WTN foreign coverage continuing to the present. 

WTN can also provide worldwide coverage from 
two other libraries, that of Britain's Independent Tele- 
vision News (ITN: 1955-now), and from Britain's 
Pathe Newsreel (1896-1966) which we market interna- 
tionally, but do not own, as the article states. 

There have been a number of partial listings of 
libraries prepared in the past, but these are incomplete 
and dated. We all anxiously await Rick Prelinger's 
promising and expectedly inclusive contribution. 

— Vincent O'Reilly 

library manager. 

Worldwide Television News Corporation 

New York, NY 

AFTERTHOUGHTS ON AFI FEST 

To the editor: 

Thank you for your recent coverage by Martha Gever of 
the 1987 AFI Video Festival [March 1988]. Some of the 
information on the funding of the festival was inaccu- 
rate, however, and since it's important for us to ac- 
knowledge the support of our contributors. I'd like to 
set the record straight. The festival was supported by- 
cash grants totalling $60,000 from the Rockefeller 
Foundation. Ampex Corporation. Ikegami. and an AFI 
Trustee. The festival's revenues, including ad sales, 
registration fees, and concession sales totalled S25.000. 
AFI covered the remaining SI 15,000 in direct costs. 
Sony contributed equipment and tape stock. 

— Terry Lawler 

director, TV/Video Services 

American Film Institute 

Los Angeles, CA 

To the editor: 

Martha Gever began her article "Measuring Video 
Activity: The 1987 AFI Video Festival" by alluding to 
my opening remarks on the panel devoted to evaluating 
the AFI festival premieres. I object to the way that I feel 
this allusion, and other subsequent comments scattered 
throughout the article, misrepresent my position about 
the current state of video art. Although I did indeed 
begin my presentation with the question "Why is there 
no good video art?," this question was intended to serve 
as a provocative rhetorical ploy, rather than as a sweep- 
ing condemnation of the field. The text of my speech, 
with amplifications, was published in the January 1988 
issue of Afterimage. I would like to refer readers to this 
text, which contains the substance of my arguments. 

Gever wrote, "...Tamblyn implied that none of the 
tapes that premiered at this edition of the festival were 
up to snuff." This is not an accurate summation of my 
remarks. I made a point of singling out several tapes as 
praiseworthy. Some of my choices {Consuming Hun- 
ger, Babel, and Ethnic Notions) coincided with the ones 
Gever cited as examples to "...contest Tamblyn's con- 
clusion that video art suffers from a paucity of ideas or 
techniques on the basis of these works alone." 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1988 




Full component Betacam to Betacam CMX Editing $150/HR 



\ 




W & Betacam to 1" 
CMX Editing 
$175/HR 




remember 
we also 
have 



87 Lafayette Street, N.Y.C. 10013 (212) 925-3429 

POST-PRODUCTION FACILITY 



Camera 

Rentals 

$550/Day 

Full Package 



4 



\ 



STUDIO 

PASS 



Studio PASS 

596 Broadway (602) 
New York, NY. 10012 
212-431-1130 



Film and video artists use Studio PASS for: 

A: Time code synchronization between 314" 
video; 7/2" 8 track and Macintosh computer 
controlled sound effects with center track SMPTE 
stereo mixdown. 

Independent radio producers, performance 
artists, choreographers and theater artists 
can get: 

A: A noiseless production with DBX 97 7 cards 

and PC/V1-F7 digital mixdown; 

B: Good acoustics in the live room and; 

C: Engineers who specialize in working with 

artists of all expertise. 

MIDI MONDAYS 

Weekly "open studio" presentations of music 
software and other related studio demonstrations 
every Monday between 4pm and 6pm. Bring 
your MIDI questions and new ideas with you. 
We have software from Digidesign, Intelligent 
Music, Opcode, Passport, Dr. T., Mark of Uni- 
corn, Southworth and Frog Peak Music. 

Please give us a call if you plan to attend. Space 
is limited. 

' ' The Fanlight IIX is now available for private 
lessons and projects. (Courtesy of the NAIME 
and NCSW) 




Digital Standards Conversion 

• Transfers of recordings between 
NTSC (American) and PAL or 
SECAM (European) television 
standards 

• Duplication in PAL, NTSC and 
SECAM 

• Formats include Video 8, 3/4" 
PAL High Band (BVU), S VHS 

• 3/4" offline editing with timecode 

GLOBE VIDEO SERVICES INC 

286 FIFTH AVENUE 

NEW YORK NY 10001 

(212) 695 6868 




Video Cassette Ouplic 



16mm Editing Rooms 
terlock Screening Rooms 



NEW, MAJOR BRAND VIDEO CASSETTES 
AT DISCOUNT PRICES 



Scotch 'n Kodak 

AFTER HOURS/ 

■ it*.' ■JTOO' VIDCO TAPC AUDIO TAPf If ADF R & SUPPl l[ S 

RAFIK 475-7884 



I do not appreciate being designated as a Clement 
Greenbergian upholder of traditional standards of qual- 
ity. This seems to be what Gever meant to insinuate 
when she wrote, "To consider whether or not Selling's 
choices represented 'the best' or even 'good' video 
an — vague terms bandied about at the panel — would 
require a major essay, one that would debunk the as- 
sumptions of those who use such evaluative language." 
The real focus of my presentation was on current con- 
ditions that hamper the production, distribution, pro- 
motion, and reception of video art, as well as the 
education of potential video artists. I also was very 
specific about my criteria for assigning value, even 
without writing a "major essay." I decried the ossifica- 
tion of video art into predictable genres, along with the 
atrophy of ground-breaking experimentation and in- 
ventive risk-taking. And I bemoaned the paucity of 
tapes that were personally idiosyncratic, quirky, hu- 
morous, or politically audacious (as opposed to "politi- 
cally correct"). 

I am bewildered about what Gever finds so objec- 
tionable about the use of evaluative language. If alter- 
native video production is not "...moribund, the poor 
step-child of commercial television or avant-garde 
film," as she claims, then why shouldn't it be subject to 
rigorous critical appraisal? Is it necessary to lavish the 
sort of patronizing boosterism on the medium that one 
uses to encourage if not a poor step-child then perhaps 
a retarded mendicant? In a postmodern era in which the 
strictures of medium specificity no longer seem rele- 
vant, what is wrong with applying the same standards 
that are used to assess the value of work in other 
mediums to video? It seems to me that a climate of 
critical accountability will have to be established before 
video can be taken seriously as a viable mode of cultural 
production. 

— Christine Tamblyn 
San Francisco. CA 

Martha Gever replies: 

If Christine Tamblyn objects to being mistaken for an 
"upholder of traditional standards of quality," perhaps 
she should avoid writing about "the current dearth of 
qualitative video," as she did in Afterimage. Since the 
qualitative standards she defends both in that article and 
in her remarks at AFI were those of personal idiosyn- 
craey, humor, insincerity, and political audacity, as 
well as "the edgy, unpredictable thrill of discovery" are 
well-established criteria employed in modernist avant- 
garde art criticism. I fail to see where she departs much 
from the tradition of a "fascination with novelty" she 
correctly attributes to the overlapping domains of 
avant-garde art and consumer culture. But she is mis- 
taken if she believes that my remark about evaluative 
language was directed solely or even primarily at her. 
That comment pertained to the festival's concluding 
panel as a whole — and especially an exchange between 
Neil Seiling and John Schott — not to Tamblyn's par- 
ticipation in particular. 

Having reread Tamblyn's piece on the AFI festival 
in Afterimage. I find it additionally curious that she 
objects to my quotation of her rhetorical statement 
announcing that there's "no good video art." In print she 
reiterated that view: "My respect for Selling's perspica- 
ciousness predisposes me to believe that the works he 
selected are among the best being produced. And yet 
seeing them reinforced my opinion that there isn't much 
interesting work being done in video now." Since she 
meant these observations to be provocative. I am sur- 
prised that she now protests my contestation. And I 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1988 



continue to heartily disagree, although that does not 
automatically consign me to the camp of "patronizing 
boosterism" or leave me ignorant of the conditions of 
production, the pressures for videomakers to make 
work that reproduces approved styles or safe politics, or 
the need for critical analyses that take these factors into 
account. However, the formulation of "'critical yard- 
sticks against which to measure a video artist's success 
or failure," as Tamblyn advocates in Afterimage, seems 
inadequate to cultural production — including much 
recent video — that eludes traditional concepts of art. 

In order to propose a remedy for the "gloomy sce- 
nario" that produces so much that is uninteresting to 
her, Tamblyn invokes postmodernism, but only to 
support the application of critical methods "used to 
assess value in other mediums to video." A critical 
postmodern perspective, however, suggests that the 
entire foundation and ideology of the art critical appa- 
ratus that now operates must be examined and itself 
subjected to criticism, a task, I again assert, that requires 
demanding, complex, and, yes, rigorous analysis, and 
not the tired, narrow language of an artist's "success" or 
"failure," "good," "bad," or "interesting" art. 



WANTED 



BOOKSTORE 

OUTLETS FOR 

THE INDEPENDENT 



While The Independent is distrib- 
uted to bookstores and newsstands 
across the country, there are still 
many places where the magazine is 
hard to find. We would like to rem- 
edy this situation— but we need 
your help. If you are aware of a 
bookstore in your area that carries 
film, video, or television maga- 
zines, but doesn't stock The Inde- 
pendent, please let us know. Send 
the bookstore name, address, 
phone, and if possible, the mana- 
ger's name to: 

The Independent 
625 Broadway, 9th fl. 
New York, NY 10012 

attn: Pat Thomson 

or call 212/473-3400 




Integrated Media Productions 

—VIDEO— 

• Complete post-production 
management 

• Off-line interformat editing 

• EDL generation 

• Striping/burn-in 

—GRAPHICS— 

• Logo creation 

• Full color paint system 

• Image digitization/effects 

• Slide/prints from video 

• Full 3D modeling w/texture 
mapping 

—AUDIO— 

• Midi music synthesis 

• Music scored for video/film 

• Narration recording 

• Sound effects, overdubs, lay-backs 

58 Walker St. • NYC 10013 
212-431-4112 



Why does 

Emile 
de Antonio 

use F/VA? 




Emile de Antonio 
Director 

'Film/Video Arts was the perfect 
facility for everything I had to do 
when Channel Four, U.K. commis- 
sioned a retrospective of my films. 
At F/VA I was able to re-edit 
segments from the tape transfers 
of eight of my films, as well as to 
create new introductions for the 
British audience. 

'I continue to use Film/Video Arts 
because of its quick, intelligent 
people and congenial space; and 
because it has good equipment at 
a reasonable price. 

'I support and recommend Film/ 

Video Arts." . , . , 

— Emile de Antonio 



Visit Film / video Arts or call 
for an appointment with 

Jeff Marino 

industry Services Manager 

212-673-9361 

F/VA AND INDEPENDENTS: 
WORKINC TOCETHER 
FOR TWENTY YEARS 

81 7 Broadway at 12th Street 
New York City 10003 



JUNE 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 7 



MEDIA CLIPS 



POST PROMPTS NYSCA INQUEST 



Probably, boarding a bus at 6:30 a.m. in order to 
attend a legislative hearing in Albany, New York, 
is no one's idea of a good time. But for the artists 
and arts administrators who travelled to the New 
York State Legislature on March 23 for a joint 
meeting of the Assembly Tourism, Sports Devel- 
opment and Arts Committee and the Senate Cul- 
ture Committee, the daytrip turned out to be a 
good idea. The occasion was a special hearing, 
with New York State Council on the Arts chair 
Kitty Carlisle Hart and executive director Mary 
Hays sharing the spotlight. This was not a routine 
report to elected representatives about what their 
allocations for the arts had achieved, but a special 
session to answer accusations of political impro- 
priety made in three articles and an editorial in the 
New York Post the previous week. 

In giant type the Post's March 16 front page 
exclaimed, "Tax $S Paying for Men in Drag," and 
in smaller print, "State spends 100G to push gay 
way of life," illustrated by a photograph of a 
transvestite. Inside, the Post's state political edi- 
tor Fredric Dicker detailed the information he had 
unearthed in the NYSCA files, which was amend- 
ed by a shorter item, "Grant denied for film 'Diary 
of City Priest.'" Dicker had combed the lists of 
last year's NYSCA grants and discovered that the 
Fund for Human Dignity, a nonprofit affiliate of 
the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, had 
sponsored several arts projects that received 
NYSCA funding, including a documentary photo 
project on transvestism. Dicker's article also 
faulted a 520,000 grant to the same organization 
for a "film" (actually a videotape. Testing the 
Limits) that would include documentary footage 
of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay 
Rights last October. Meanwhile, the same author 
contrasted these and an award to the feminist 
journal Conditions with a grant denied for a docu- 
mentary film on an inner city Catholic priest. 

Nowhere in either article did Dicker explain 
the structure of NYSCA's programs — organized 
according to disciplines like literature, film, 
media, visual arts, etc. — the function of peer re- 
view panels, or the procedures that require indi- 
vidual artists to apply under the auspices of a not- 
for-profit organization. And throughout the sub- 
jects of documentary projects were equated, in 
effect, with the recipients of the grants. 

Despite these distortions and demagogic tac- 
tics, the chairs of both legislative committees that 
oversee the state's arts funding — Syracuse Re- 
publican Tarky Lombardi in the Senate and Niag- 
ara Democrat Matthew Muiphy in the Assem- 
bly — and as well as Governor Mario Cuomo re- 
acted immediately with demands for explanations 
from NYSCA. In the next day's Post, Dicker 



announced these effects of his stories along with 
additional revelations re NYSCA — grants for "a 
pro-Sandinista film [Fire from the Mountain], an 
anti-landlord tenants group and an anti-apartheid 
'newspaper' committed to being 'an active social 
force.'" 

The argument advanced in Dicker's news sto- 
ries was repeated and further amplified in the lead 
editorial published that day. After again citing 
NYSCA's several grants to the Fund for Human 
Dignity as "part of a $100,000 expenditure... to 
promote homosexuality and lesbianism," the au- 
thor asks. "[WJhat is going on at the state Council 
on the Arts? What sort of moral vacuum obtains 
there? How is it that folks entrusted with handing 
out public funds have no problem with giving a 
psychological disorder... the imprimatur of the 
State of New York?" And the piece concludes. 
"[T]he council must be made to understand that 
when public dollars are spent, society's moral 
standards apply." 

This rhetoric set the stage for the joint legisla- 
tive committee session on the following Wednes- 
day. In the intervening days, however, arts organi- 
zations throughout the state responded to the 
Post's attack on NYSCA with telephone calls, 
telegrams, and letters of support, as well as en- 
couragements to attend the committees' session. 
On the day of the hearing, the committee room in 
the Albany State House was jammed with inter- 
ested spectators, who applauded enthusiastically 
when NYSCA and arts funding in general were- 
defended and remained coldly silent the few times 
Hart and Hays were asked to justify the grants 
described in the Post. 

The leading proponents of increased scrutiny 
and ideological guidelines for NYSCA were 
Republican Assemblymen Frank Talomie Sr. 
from Geneva and Philip Healey from Nassau, 
who grilled Hart and Hays about the propriety of 
certain grants. Healey went so far as to demand 
proof that an anti-lesbian writer or a film on the 
contras would be funded to "balance" the grants to 
Conditions and Fire from the Mountain. Queens 
Democrat Frederick Schmidt echoed that senti- 
ment when he warned the Council against giving 
grants for projects that "advocate a point of view, 
not artistic performance." Quoting passages writ- 
ten by the applicants singled out by the Post. 
Suffolk County Senator Owen Johnson cautioned 
the Council to be "sensitive" and stated that their 
mission is to fund "art-for-art's sake." Hart firmly 
reminded the Senator that art and politics are 
frequently inseparable. "Documentaries are art 
when they're done by an artist," she asserted. 

As the morning wore on, however, the inquest 
turned into a litany of praise for the Arts Council's 



achievements — and tributes to Hart in particular. 
In an unapologetic pro-NYSCA speech Assem- 
blyman Robert Connor, a Democrat from Rock- 
land County, expressed his embarrassment at 
spending "time responding to a single reporter of 
a single newspaper." Instead, he suggested, the 
committees should be discussing ways to increase 
NYSCA's budget. Various Senators and Assem- 
blymen (all men) took turns proclaiming their 
opposition to censorship and their appreciation 
for the arts. The most convincing of this long list 
of speakers was Westchester Democratic Assem- 
blyman Richard Brodsky. "I don't think it's this 
group's business what I think of a lesbian writer." 
he said, declaring his unabashed belief in the 
necessity of "unpleasant diversity" in the arts. 

As a rejoinder to colleagues who speechified 
about NYSCA's "accountability," Brodsky told 
Hart that she should make "no apology for pro- 
grams." When the event was over, the spectators 
breathed a collective sigh of relief. Outside the 
committee room a legislative observer told me 
that this audience tipped the scales. Without this 
impressive show of support, he noted, the event 
easily might have turned into a gay-bashing ses- 
sion, with some of the anti-censorship orators 
speaking out of the other side of their mouths. 

Despite the apparent suspension of the Post's 
campaign against NYSCA, the political mileage 
that state-funded culture potentially provides its 
critics has hardly been exhausted. New York State 
artists engaged in documentary projects and those 
producing work with obvious political references 
and alliances are surely the most vulnerable, but 
they can also best articulate the artistic validity of 
their work. The upcoming meetings of the Coun- 
cil and its committees, which are open to the 
public and the most likely sites for challenges to 
funding recommendations from the peer panels of 
the various NYSCA programs, will measure the 
success of the Poor's campaign for enforcing what 
it deems acceptable "moral standards." or. alter- 
nately, they will confirm the Council's commit- 
ment to art that contributes to a diverse, some- 
times dissenting cultural climate. 

MARTHA GEVER 

CABLE FEELS THE HEAT 

A year and a half has passed since cable deregu- 
lation went into effect, and Congress is not happy 
with the results. During this time, basic subscriber 
rates have climbed an average of 16 percent, 
although increases of 50. 1 00. even 200 percent or 
more have not been uncommon. Hundreds of 
public television and independent stations have 
been switched to upper channels (or "Siberia" in 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1988 



cable parlance), and a few dropped altogether, 
with cable company-owned program services 
usurping these more visible and lucrative channel 
locations. City governments have seen their regu- 
latory powers whittled away by a series of district 
court decisions, with dire results for public access 
and universal service requirements. 

Because of these and other trends. Congress 
now fears it may have given away too much of the 
store. Consequently is has gone on the offensive. 
Hearings on the cable industry were called in 
March by Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), chair 
of the Senate Subcommittee on Anti-Trust, Mo- 
nopolies, and Business Rights, and by Edward 
Markey (D-Massachusetts), chair of the House 
Telecommunications Subcommittee. 

The cable industry is obviously feeling the 
heat. Cable lobbyists have assumed a defensive 
posture, and have cautioned the industry to tone 
down the rhetoric and ease up on potentially 
offensive actions. Nonetheless, some cable com- 
panies have ignored the warnings of Congress and 
cable lobbyists. They continue to wage battle 
within the court system using the First Amend- 
ment to challenge access requirements, franchise 
fees, and the basic concept of exclusive fran- 
chises, thereby threatening the cities' regulatory 
powers. However, due to the changing atmos- 
phere on Capital Hill, the cable industry is be- 
ginning to publicly distance itself from these com- 
panies, casting them in the role of renegade. At 
times this can require a stretch of the imagination. 
For example, the second largest multiple system 
operator, American Television and Communica- 
tions, was called part of a "radical fringe" by a top 
cable executive speaking before Congress, who 
thought its court action in Erie, Pennsylvania, 
which seeks to abolish key franchise require- 
ments and undermine city authority, was "unfit- 
ting." 

Meanwhile, the city of Santa Ana, California, 
has decided to fight the local cable operator, 
Comcast Cable, with a countersuit. The dispute is 
over four requirements inherited by Comcast 
when it took over the franchise: a $2-million 
access studio, a grant to support local program- 
ming, an institutional network, and a microwave 
interconnect of local cities and universities. In 
December 1987 Comcast filed suit for the viola- 
tion of its First Amendment rights. It subse- 
quently sent a letter to its subscribers saying their 
basic rates would go up from $13.50 to $17.95, 
solely because of the costs of providing access 
services — and the difference would be refunded if 
the city relieved the company of its access require- 
ments. Subsequently, the subscribers voted for 
the refund — and against public access. The city, 
however, refused to accept Comcast's maneuver. 
When Comcast rejected the city's compromise 
proposal — that Comcast hold off on rate increases 
in exchange for a three-year deferral in the con- 
struction of its studio facility — Santa Ana offi- 
cials filed suit against the cable operator in March. 

Comcast's new rates would represent a 158 
percent increase since 1984, with a reduction in 



l-inch& 

Interformat Editing 
3/4" BVU Editing 
3/4" Off-Line Editing 
Complete Audio Services 
Film to Tape Transfers 
Video Production & 
Screening Equipment 
Rental 



LOVVCO: 



EOSER"' 



CESFOB 



At 

Broadway Video 

G.B.S. Video 

L.R.P. Video 

Matrix/Stand-By 

Sync Sound 

TV-R/MasterColor 

Technisphere Corporation 

Post-production consultation 

Available to ON-LINE clients 

For applications contact 

Media Alliance 

c/o WNET, 356 West 58th Street 

NYC. NY 10019 212/560-2919 











K C C 






AUDIO/VIDEO 


HARMONY,^. -accordance, 
concord, concurrence, unison, 
understanding. 

WE KNOW HOW TO 
WORK WITH YOU. 

CMX ON-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM to 1" 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING 

3/4" & BETACAM PRODUCTION 

21' X 54' SOUND STAGE 

Contact Terri 
(212)228-3063 

31 BOND STREET N.Y., N.Y. 10012 



WE FIND THE CONTACTS BEFORE PRODUCTION 



FUTURE FILM NEWS 



NATIONAL 
FILM SOURCES 



ooooooooooooooooo 

PRE-PRODUCTION 
NEWSLETTER 

ooooooooooooooooo 



Jf RESEARCHES SAG AND NON-UNION FILMS CURRENTLY IN 
PRE-PRODUCTION IN N.Y. - CALIF.- AIL THE U.S.A. 



-¥> LISTS CASTING DIRECTORS & PRODUCERS SEEKING 
TALENT AND SERVICES FOR UPCOMING FILMS 



TOLL FREE CREDIT CARD ORDERS 1" 800"222-3844 



MNiMiiimiRWONiHUDfiio: NANONAl FILM SOURCES 

10 EAST 39th ST. SUITE 1017 HEW YORI, N.T. 10016 

Name D visa D MaitoiCjrd 

(PIMM Print) 
Addroi Act I Account t 



Oty/Sttl«/Zlp_ 



E.plillion 0«!e I / /_ 



Uo Day t( Autf«xU«dSton*lY»» 

MONEY BACK GlIAHANTEE nmi SUBSCRIPTION 

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER 



IIMITFI) TIME ONIY: $39 95 I* Hit SATISFIED ma tltst ISSUi 
UMIItU lint UAH *».« run. .nuiiD ra. inuium: issues. 



JUNE 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 9 



vi*io 

212-645-3790/1 



AFFORDABLE POST PRODUCTION 



Including: OFF-LINE EDITING 



A/B ROLL 



COMPUTER GRAPHICS 



PRODUCTION 



Conception to Completion 



5 West 20th St. 5th Floor, New York, New York 10011 



SMITH 
PRODUCTIONS 

Off Line Video Editing 
Sony BVU 800 System 

BROADCAST QUALITY 

AT 
INDUSTRIAL RATES 

Private, downtown suite 
24 hour access available 

DISCOUNTS FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

212-925-6541 



and 



- L ocati° n 
Stud' * ^„ . 3/ 
Retacarn * 
B d Cre* 

E*P erien • 
c <;tud»° 

* .... e^: 



/Gr«P 
A..ct»° n 



' uctio" 



&P° 5 ' 




Confac/: Matt Clarke 
or Jeff Byrd 



Indepe 


ndent Bits 








lyS^^irl 








£ 1 fHT ***** W 


P^^"m 




9fl BpaBfc »HBB»** ^^^ 


(212) 362-1216 


Desktop Video 



services. Company officials justified the hikes by 
arguing that their rates were artificially low to 
begin with — a defense commonly offered by 
cable operators. This argument was met with open 
skepticism when echoed by other system opera- 
tors before Senator Metzenbaum's subcommit- 
tee, as were numerous other industry defenses. At 
one point Metzenbaum interrupted cable lobbyist 
James Mooney to say, "'Some of us feel we were 
'had' when we passed [the Cable Communica- 
tions Policy Act of 1984]." adding, "My col- 
leagues and I are ready to reexamine the Act in 
respect to rates and program availability." Similar 
recommendations were made in the House sub- 
committee. One of the Cable Act's authors, Tus- 
con mayor Thomas Volgy, said that "When Con- 
gress established the Cable Act to 'preserve the 
critical role of governments in the franchise proc- 
ess,' it intended to give us the tools needed to do 
that job." Instead, said Volgy, "For all intents and 
purposes, [the cities] are completely deregulated. 
It is going to be a scarce city that will take up a 
fight" against belligerent cable operators. Volgy 
proposed that cities be given blanket immunity 
from monetary damages resulting from First 
Amendment lawsuits brought by would-be ca- 
ble operators, and, more generally, that the Cable 
Act be revisited by Congress. 

While Congress does not yet appear ready to 
introduce legislation modifying the Cable Act, it 
is far from finished with the issue. In addition to 
the Senate subcommittee hearings scheduled to 
resume in May, several other investigations are 
pending oralready underway. Senator John Kerry 
(D-Massachusetts), a member of the Commerce 
Committee, is informally looking into anti-com- 
petitive practices within the cable industry. A 
group of state Attorneys General have formed an 
anti-trust task force pertaining to cable to "fill a 
gap left open by the Justice Department." The 
General Accounting Office has been instructed by 
Markey to undertake a study of basic rate in- 
creases. As conciliatory as cable spokespeople 
appear during this period of Congres- 
sional attention, it will probably take legislative 
action to keep the effects of deregulation under 
control. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

WORLDWIDE 
WOMEN'S FILM GROUP 
FORMED 

Despite a Variety announcement declaring "Film 
Femmes Form Broad Alliance." the newly estab- 
lished Cinema Women International Federa- 
tion — Kino Women International or KIWI, for 
short — kicked off earlier this year at a meeting in 
Tbilisi. Soviet Georgia, with a surprisingly nar- 
row reach. Criticism has already emerged over the 
lack of representation from women of color in 
what its founders hope to become an international 
organization of women film, video, and television 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1988 



professionals. Having returned to their respective 
countries to organize on a national level, they will 
try to build a broader base for a second world 
congress, tentatively scheduled in 1989. 

Cinema Women had its beginnings at the 
Women's Day program during last year's Mos- 
cow Film Festival, which was attended by repre- 
sentatives from Women in Film in California. 
Soviet filmmaker Lana Gogoberidze, now Cin- 
ema Women's chair, and Soviet critic Maya 
Turovskaya met again with the U.S. women last 
January at On Screen, the San Francisco-based 
women's film festival, where they formalized 
plans for the founding congress. According to 
Patricia Mellencamp, a Milwaukee film scholar 
and officer of the organization, Gogoberidze trav- 
eled around the U.S. inviting delegates to the 
event, held from February 26 to March 4 in 
Tbilisi. The U.S. delegation included Mellen- 
camp, Pamela Rosenberg from Los Angeles 
Women in Film, Barbara Parker of San Francisco 
Women in Film, and San Francisco documentary 
filmmaker Paula Lee Heller, all of whom were 
elected to Cinema Women's interim governing 
Council. No women of color were included in the 
delegation. 

At least one Latina filmmaker, Lourdes Por- 
tillo, had met with U.S. delegates and Gogo- 
beridze before the congress, to urge more parti- 
cipation from Latin American women, but was 
given little encouragement. Despite its lack of 
representation, Mellencamp reports that the Tbil- 
isi meeting was fruitful ground for generating 
exchange and contacts. The 90 participants were 
hosted with considerable hospitability by the So- 
viet Filmmakers Union and the government of 
Soviet Georgia. At the meeting, the international 
group voted for a name and a charter, with the 
goal of furthering the social, economic, and po- 
litical rights of women working in the media, to 
promote international solidarity, and improve 
opportunities and the presence of women media 
professionals. Curiously, given that the organiza- 
tion is currently dominated by representatives 
from developed countries, one of their primary 
goals is to achieve UNESCO status and funding. 

A six-month council was elected to govern the 
organization, configured at seven representatives 
from each of seven world regions: Soviet Union; 
U.S. and Canada; Western Europe; Socialist 
countries; Africa and the Middle East; Asia and 
Oceania; Latin America and the Caribbean. Four 
seats from the U.S. were filled by Mellencamp, 
Parker, Heller, and Rosenberg, with B. Ruby 
Rich, director of the Film Program at the New 
York State Council on the Arts, voted as a member 
in absentia — although she has not yet agreed to 
accept the post. Only three Third World seats 
were filled. 

Another two-day meeting was held during the 
Films dcs Femmes Festival International in Cre- 
teil, France, last March, ostensibly as a follow-up 
to Tbilisi. There has been confusion as to the 
official status of the meeting — many of the par- 



"Brilliantly conceived 
and clearly articulated? 

—GENE REYNOLDS, Producer, "M*A*S*H," "Lou Grant" 



"Incredible insight and clarity, pas- 
sionately delivered. I couldn't have 
had a more enlightening experience." 
—MARK RYDELL, Director "On 
Golden Pond," "The River" 

"He not only taught me things I 
didn't know but made what I do 
know better." 

— RENEE TAYLOR, Screenwriter 
"Lovers and Other Strangers" 

"Remarkably informative." 
—DAVID KEMPER, CBS Program 
Executive 



"Instead of formulas, McKee inspires 
a deep understanding that gives 
writers the creative freedom to find 
their own answers." 
—GLORIA STEINEM, Author- 

"He makes the screenwriter's craft 
a proud profession." 
— LYNNE LITMAN, Director "Tes- 
tament," "Number Our Days" 

"McKee's course should be taken by 
anyone involved with movies." 
—MICHAEL HERTZBERG, Produ- 
cer "Blazing Saddles," "Twelve 
Chairs" 



"Failure to make the story work is the chief cause for the rejection of 
manuscripts. In Hollywood, it is virtually the only reason." 
—ROBERT McKEE, Author of the forthcoming "STORY: The Craft of the 
Screenwriter, Novelist and Playwright." Published by Warner Books. 

July 15, 16, 17 
Robert McKee's Story Structure 

An intensive course for writers, producers, 
directors, and industry executives. 

212-463-7889 



FOX/LORBER/M/ 

ASSOCIATES, INC.f 

is acquiring 

independent features 

and 

documentaries 

for all markets and territories 

Contact: Trea Hoving 
Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc. 

432 Park Avenue South, Suite 705, New York, NY 10016 
Telephone: (212) 686-6777 Telex: 425 730 FOXLOR FAX: 212-685-2625 




346 Ninth St., 2nd Fl. 
San Francisco, CA 94103 
415 • 863 • 0814 



NATIONAL 

ASIAN 

AMERICAN 

TELECOMMUNICATIONS 

ASSOCIATION 



Distributing & promoting Asian American 
programming on public broadcasting.... 

-"SILK SCREEN" television series and specials 
-"BAMBOO RADIO", "JUKEBOX", and upcoming 
"THE LAST GAME SHOW" on public radio. 

Working with the independent mediamakers in 
bringing Asian Amencan works to the public. 



JUNE 1988 



THE INDEPENDENT 11 



The reference book that you've been waiting for! 

Footage 89: North American Film & Video Sources 



NOW OFFERED AT SPECIAL PRE-PUBLICATION DISCOUNT! 



For the first time, a guidebook that opens up North America's vast moving image resources! 

Lists 1400 film & video sources, including: Archives • Associations • Corporations • Distributors • Government agencies • 
Historical societies • Libraries • Media arts centers • Museums • News organizations • Stock footage houses • Universities 

Includes, for each collection: Contact names • Detailed description and contents • Cataloging • Access procedures • 
Restrictions • Viewing and duplication facilities • Licensing fees and procedures • Rights and clearance status • Subject index 

Approx. 750 pages. 8-1/2 x 11. $75.00 postpaid (before Aug. 1, 1988); $89.00 + shipping thereafter. Available July 1988. 

CALL FOR OUR DESCRIPTIVE BROCHURE! 



YES, I want 



copies of Footage 89. I am enclosing $75.00 per copy (with NY State tax: $78.00; with NY City tax: $81.19). 



All orders must be prepaid before August 1, 1988 in order to qualify for pre-publication discount and free shipping. Make check or 
money order payable to Prelinger Associates, Inc. PLEASE NOTE: Footage 89 will be shipped July, 1988. 



Name 



Company, 



Street Address 



City/State/Zip_ 



Telephone. 



Satisfaction guaranteed! If Footage 89 doesn't immediately save you time and trouble, simply return it in saleable condition within 30 days for a no-questions-asked refund. 

Prelinger Associates, Inc. / 430 West 14th St., Room 403 / New York, NY 10014 USA / « (800) 243-2252 or (212) 255-8866 




The American Rim institute 



SUMMER WORKSHOPS 

AFI's Education Services offers 13 
challenging summer workshops on 
its Los Angeles campus. Aimed at 
media professionals, educators and 
students, workshops range from 2 
days to 2 weeks, and focus on such 
areas as: 

*video production 
*studies in film/TV theory, 
documentary and animation 
*creati